The Optical Craftsmen--Northridge, California
Posted 11 November 2010 - 07:05 PM
Many years ago, while looking at the bulletin board of our local Goodwill Store, I noticed a small slip of paper tacked up there. It mentioned that an old 8-inch telescope could be purchased for $300. Intrigued, I contacted the owner and purchased the scope. It turned out to be a vintage Optical Craftsmen 8-inch f/7 reflector, complete with fiberglass tube and beautifully made equatorial mounting. It was made by the Optical Craftsmen when they were located in Northridge, California. The company later relocated to Chatsworth in the same western state.
All of the exposed gears were made of brass. The fit and finish was exquisite, equal to that found on Unitron equipment. Optically it was a real stunner, the mirror testing out at about 1/16 wave or better, extremely smooth and free of zones. Included with the scope was one 10.5mm Telescopics eyepiece with the Saturn logo.
I used the telescope for some time and then sold it to an individual from Spokane, Washington, who drove all the way to Corvallis to buy it from me. Actually, he was purchasing it for a friend, but after getting home and using the telescope he decided to keep it for himself. (He bought his friend another telescope.)
Shown is an older picture from one of my photo albums. I am standing next to the precision made Optical Craftsmen telescope. This should have been one of those "keeper scopes."
Posted 11 November 2010 - 07:08 PM
Posted 11 November 2010 - 07:39 PM
Posted 11 November 2010 - 07:46 PM
...where was that mount you posted on the ads thread?
Posted 11 November 2010 - 07:49 PM
Posted 11 November 2010 - 07:56 PM
This is the post that I referred to. Nothing is being advertised since my scope is long gone. If I was in the Detroit area I would not hesitate to grab that mounting as shown on Craigslist.
Posted 11 November 2010 - 08:12 PM
Posted 11 November 2010 - 08:17 PM
Does anyone have an earlier catalog? Or did they advertise in S&T?
Posted 11 November 2010 - 08:29 PM
Posted 11 November 2010 - 09:14 PM
I have a Optical Craftsmen 8"f6.3 from 1969 and the mirrors are the best I have ever looked through.
Primary is dated 3-69 and signed HATIEN or possibly HATTEN, can't quite make it out. Whoever this was, if employed by OC or not definitely knew how to figure a mirror!
Posted 11 November 2010 - 09:34 PM
I've not seen a Magnusson before, nice looking mount. I wonder if OC was using these for a while.
My OC Discoverer has what appears to be a Pacific Instruments mount, could it be they used different suppliers from time to time? or ?
Posted 11 November 2010 - 10:14 PM
Posted 11 November 2010 - 10:34 PM
Speaking of ANRA that's one scope that has escaped me. I have never seen one even a color photo of one. They did the 4 and 6's in the usual mount of the time looking like an Edmund pedestal which a lot of people used BTW. They named the scopes after bright stars Sirius, Canopus, Altair, etc. They also seem boast very low wave front error 1/20 and 1/40 !!!!
They said their mounts were painted Strato Blue and it wasn't a Zonotone color.
Have you or any one else out there seen one or have a color photo?
Posted 11 November 2010 - 11:30 PM
I'm probably going to ditch the OEM spider and OEM secondary (which I recoated) and put in a curved protostar. When it's all done I'll have a first class Newt.
Posted 12 November 2010 - 01:41 AM
The Discoverer was OC's economy model but nothing economy about the optics showing detail invisible in most of my other scopes.
This is the Discoverer mount, 1" shafts. Looks almost exactly like a Pacific Instruments. I'm not sure if this mount was made by PI for OC exclusively with the small differences or if it was made by OC.
Posted 12 November 2010 - 01:49 AM
Posted 12 November 2010 - 01:53 AM
I have an OC catalog from 1964 in my collection. It is a ten page catalog. There is an image of an 8-inch model
on the last page, shown below.
Posted 12 November 2010 - 08:15 AM
Regardless, it is a top notch mounting that any amateur astronomer would be proud to own. I notice that the Craigslist scope also has the cradle rings. Does the seller in Detroit own an 8-inch or 10-inch model? Even if he does not have a complete optical assembly the cradle rings have a diameter that will accept standard older Parks fiberglass tubes. Existing Cave Optical, Optical Craftsmen, etc. OTA's should fit into the rings. I also think that a Meade #826 OTA will fit.
Posted 12 November 2010 - 08:19 AM
Posted 12 November 2010 - 09:24 AM
Posted 12 November 2010 - 09:33 AM
Posted 12 November 2010 - 09:35 AM
Some of the Northridge, Calif. company's competitors also produced unusual telescopes and mountings. This is a picture of a rare Cleveland Astronomics equatorial, one of only 12 in existence (according to CA's owner and founder Simon Holler). I purchased it locally at a garage sale; it also had a customized 8" Cassegrain OTA along with a rare 1950's Chester Brandon 4-inch folded refractor guidescope (compressed from F/15.5 to F/5.5).
That blue rod is a yardstick. The engraved aluminum RA setting circle is about one foot in diameter. A massive mounting, suitable for observatory emplacement. Long gone, though.