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Meade Research-Grade 20mm Wide-Angle

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#1 Blake Andrews

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Posted 17 March 2012 - 11:05 AM

I'm looking for a bit of a history lesson regarding the Meade Research-Grade 20mm Wide-Angle. I recently acquired one (thanks, Steve) and it's unique markings may help me determine when the Japan Telescope Inspection Institute used this style of sticker (Round yellow sticker with purplish/grey lettering).

If the information I've gathered from searching the CN eyepiece forum is correct, this particular eyepiece was made by Nikon for Meade, Bushnell, and Cave from approximately 1968 through at least 1975.

This eyepiece has some additional markings of interest. In addition to JAPAN stamped on the aluminum barrel, the eye-lens barrel also has "JAPAN MOP" stamped or engraved. Can anyone tell me the significance of "MOP"?

Many thanks for your help!

Blake

PS - Looking good for first light in my CPC 1100 tonight :jump:

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#2 Blake Andrews

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Posted 17 March 2012 - 11:07 AM

Here is a photo showing the JTII inspection sticker...

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#3 Blake Andrews

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Posted 17 March 2012 - 11:08 AM

Here's a photo showing the "JAPAN MOP" marking at the top of the eye-lens barrel...

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#4 Wisconsin Steve

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Posted 17 March 2012 - 11:38 AM

Love this eyepiece Blake, one of my favorites! I have never seen a definitive answer for what "MOP" stands for - just speculation. My understanding is that these were available until the very early 80s. If you would like a scan of an original ad, just send me a PM with your email.

#5 catboat

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Posted 17 March 2012 - 12:22 PM

Perhaps not the mother of all quagmires but a close relative.

I've never seen much offered up for MOP on CN. As speculation only, I'd settle for M________ Optical Products (Meade? Mizar? Moriya...?)

I'd be delighted to know that these RGs and Orthostars were made by Nikon. But if the "Nikon" origins of these eyepieces is based solely on the often posted typewritten price list from Cave, I'm not at all certain that's much to go on. Not long ago, Jim Barnett suggested that "Nikon" might well be a secretarial error for "Nihon Seiko." Possible enough IMO.

One of Jim's more compelling arguments was that Nikon was at the top of the heap and would have placed its name on any product reaching the marketplace -- i.e., unlikely to be an anonymous subcontractor. Without evidence that Nikon subcontracted in other consumer products, I tend to agree.

I like my 20mm RG wide-angle in any case and hope some fresh thoughts turn up here.

#6 Blake Andrews

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Posted 17 March 2012 - 12:27 PM

Hi catboat,

Thanks for your reply.

I'm pretty confident that Nihon Seiko did not manufacture these eyepieces. My rational is relatively simple - all N.S. marked eyepieces used brass/steel (not aluminum) barrel construction (many but not all with the famous zebra locking ring). The Meade/Bushnell/Cave series is fairly unique with the use of aluminum barrels. This was very unusual for the 1960s/1970s.

Regards,
Blake

#7 Blake Andrews

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Posted 17 March 2012 - 12:33 PM

sgorton99,

Thanks for the reply.

Very late 1970's to very early 1980's would be consistent with some of the early Celestron Silvertops I've seen with the same JTII sticker, and marked Fully Coated (as opposed to the more common Multi-Coated marking). I'm hoping to narrow the date range a bit further. Maybe someone out there has the identical eyepiece and can remember when they purchased it? Any takers?

Cheers!
Blake

#8 catboat

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Posted 17 March 2012 - 12:36 PM

all N.S. marked eyepieces used brass/steel (not aluminum) barrel construction (many but not all with the famous zebra locking ring). The Meade/Bushnell/Cave series is fairly unique with the use of aluminum barrels. This was very unusual for the 1960s/1970s.


Good point and good evidence. The Cave and RGs certainly share the same build (I've never seen the Bushnell) and builder. Where the finished lenses come from...... ?

On with the search!

#9 Blake Andrews

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Posted 17 March 2012 - 12:47 PM

Styles of construction are an important clue. Here's a list of additional clues I look for when trying to understand the pedigree of an eyepiece:

Barrel Marking (things like Circle-A, Circle-V, Circle-T etc.)
Style of Barrel Marking (machine cut, rolled, stamped)
Style of Barrel lettering (engraved, painted, etc.)
Fully-Coated vs. Multi-Coated
Style of JTII sticker.
Style/color of Coatings
Style of Box construction
Lettering and fonts used on eyepieces and boxes
List price markings on boxes

This is all top of the head. So, I may have missed something.

Cheers!
Blake

#10 Wisconsin Steve

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Posted 17 March 2012 - 12:48 PM

The ad I have is from a 1984 "Orion Telescope" catalog.

#11 greju

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Posted 17 March 2012 - 01:25 PM

Perhaps not the mother of all quagmires but a close relative.

I've never seen much offered up for MOP on CN. As speculation only, I'd settle for M________ Optical Products (Meade? Mizar? Moriya...?)

I'd be delighted to know that these RGs and Orthostars were made by Nikon. But if the "Nikon" origins of these eyepieces is based solely on the often posted typewritten price list from Cave, I'm not at all certain that's much to go on. Not long ago, Jim Barnett suggested that "Nikon" might well be a secretarial error for "Nihon Seiko." Possible enough IMO.

One of Jim's more compelling arguments was that Nikon was at the top of the heap and would have placed its name on any product reaching the marketplace -- i.e., unlikely to be an anonymous subcontractor. Without evidence that Nikon subcontracted in other consumer products, I tend to agree.

I like my 20mm RG wide-angle in any case and hope some fresh thoughts turn up here.


The history of these eyepieces has been documented fairly well in these forums. Using the "Search" function will bring up much info and I am not quite sure any of it match's what you said in your post. :question: Anyways, here is a little help from 1976. :grin:

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#12 greju

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Posted 17 March 2012 - 01:26 PM

And;

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#13 Blake Andrews

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Posted 17 March 2012 - 02:20 PM

catboat,

Here is a link to the thread containing the photo of the 1968 Bushnell eyepieces...

http://www.cloudynig...=3282185&Forum=,,,,f75,,,,&Words="Bushnell"&Searchpage=4&Limit=25&Main=3280239&Search=true&where=bodysub&Name=&daterange=1&newerval=&newertype=&olderval=&oldertype=&bodyprev=#Post3282185

(sorry, I've not been to the fancy link school)

These are in brown cartons which are very similar to those blue cartons use by Meade.

Cheers!
Blake

#14 Blake Andrews

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Posted 17 March 2012 - 02:22 PM

Hi greju,

Thanks for the help from 1976. I've been doing extensive reading in the archives. The questions I'm posting do not seem to be answered exhaustively.

Regards,
Blake

#15 Blake Andrews

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Posted 17 March 2012 - 02:26 PM

Thanks for all the help. I'm seeing some new tidbits that don't appear to be covered in the forum archives.

To further expand my question regarding the "JAPAN MOP" marking, is there anyone that has a Meade Research-Grade Wide-Angle that DOES NOT have this JAPAN MOP marking on the barrel?

Thanks! Keep those replies coming!
Blake
:jump:

#16 Wisconsin Steve

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Posted 17 March 2012 - 02:42 PM

All 10 of mine have "JAPAN MOP" on them.

#17 Blake Andrews

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Posted 17 March 2012 - 03:25 PM

Ok, I had a vague recollection about the term "JAPAN MOP" and did some "at large" Googling. Sure enough, I've found a number of antiquities with the "JAPAN MOP" marking. My guess is that under the terms of Japanese re-industrialization that started post WWII, the marking "JAPAN MOP" was required and had a very specific meaning associated with it.

Just another clue.

Cheers!
Blake

#18 greju

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Posted 17 March 2012 - 03:43 PM

WOW! Somebody has got to fix their link! :foreheadslap:

I like Meade Optical Products. :grin:

http://www.cloudynig...ll/fpart/2/vc/1

#19 Blake Andrews

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Posted 17 March 2012 - 04:07 PM

Yep, I saw this thread. Like so many others it was a fun read, but never really answered the OP's question.

Based upon non-astronomy sources, my best guess at this time is that MOP stands for Military Occupied Prefecture.

Cheers!
Blake

#20 catboat

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Posted 17 March 2012 - 04:08 PM

Perhaps not the mother of all quagmires but a close relative.

I've never seen much offered up for MOP on CN. As speculation only, I'd settle for M________ Optical Products (Meade? Mizar? Moriya...?)

I'd be delighted to know that these RGs and Orthostars were made by Nikon. But if the "Nikon" origins of these eyepieces is based solely on the often posted typewritten price list from Cave, I'm not at all certain that's much to go on. Not long ago, Jim Barnett suggested that "Nikon" might well be a secretarial error for "Nihon Seiko." Possible enough IMO.

One of Jim's more compelling arguments was that Nikon was at the top of the heap and would have placed its name on any product reaching the marketplace -- i.e., unlikely to be an anonymous subcontractor. Without evidence that Nikon subcontracted in other consumer products, I tend to agree.

I like my 20mm RG wide-angle in any case and hope some fresh thoughts turn up here.


The history of these eyepieces has been documented fairly well in these forums. Using the "Search" function will bring up much info and I am not quite sure any of it match's what you said in your post.


Hi greju,

I don't know what you're referring to... about nothing in past threads being a match to what's in my post.

Do you mean:
the meaning of MOP and the Nikon connection is not a quagmire? Problem solved? Never seen that.
Jim Barnett didn't advance the "Nihon Seiko" thesis? Try search.

Has it been demonstrated -- let alone documented --that these were made by Nikon? I've never seen that -- except the typewritten price sheet.

From the several links I still have on RGs and older/newer orthostars -- you posted this in October 2010:
Coast Ortho-Star = Cave = Meade R.G. = N.K. = Nippon Kogaku = Pentax?

and just below your post at that time the Caveman posted:
Some other junk on the net says Nikon made them but nothing Solid

None of this reads like a solved mystery to me. Anyway, it's Blake's thread and I hope he'll turn up something new.

#21 greju

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Posted 17 March 2012 - 04:59 PM

"Jim Barnett didn't advance the "Nihon Seiko" thesis?"

Yes he has, but it is one of the few times he was wrong. Nihon Seiko never "made" anything. They sub-contracted everything.

"
One of Jim's more compelling arguments was that Nikon was at the top of the heap and would have placed its name on any product reaching the marketplace..."

Nikon could put it's name on anybody's products? :lol: If anybody actualy said this it would be far from compelling.

"But if the "Nikon" origins of these eyepieces is based solely on the often posted typewritten price list from Cave, I'm not at all certain that's much to go on."

Keep searching, I think there is more! :grin:

#22 cheepnis

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Posted 17 March 2012 - 05:49 PM

Look at the price list!

Ummm, 4 RG orthos and the Erfle for $135 ??

Yes please, i'll take 5.

#23 daniel_h

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Posted 17 March 2012 - 10:49 PM

Mine also has Japan MOP stamped on it, not I pn white like the name, but plain stamped in the black colour of the upper barrel

#24 jrbarnett

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Posted 18 March 2012 - 12:51 AM

"Nihon Seiko never "made" anything. They sub-contracted everything."

Hmm, I've never heard this before. In fact, sources like Company Seven identify Nihon Seiko Kenkyusho as the subcontractor who made doublets for Unitron and Polarex scopes.

"There was little in the way of true innovation with the telescopes, Nihon Seiko accumulated wisdom from other accomplished makers then integrated these ideas into their production - and did so with class. What Nihon Seiko did manufacture was made after careful thought, with a high degree of precision, and made of appropriate materials smartly engineered to work well and save weight. Each component was assembled by caring craftsmen who obviously took pride in their work."

And..."Objective Lens: Throughout the 1950's and into the 1960's many lens makers offered achromatic telescopes, but no other western bloc nation had a manufacturer that offered a telescope as well made and functional, and with a price as moderate (given the performance) as these made by Nihon Seiko. The Nihon Seiko achromatic refracting telescope objective (front lens) employ an air spaced two lens, one group arrangement. The design derives from the Zeiss E-Objektiv, a refinement of the original doublet achromatic lens that was developed by German optician Joseph von Fraunhofer (b. 6 Mar 1787, d. 7 Jun 1826). This lens employs one element made of BK7 (borosilicate crown) glass precisely matched to work with the SF10 (a high index flint) glass component. In order to attain acceptable performance the focal ratio is f/15 fairly long by todays standards. By the 1920's Zeiss production included E-Objektiv 60mm telescopes similar to this Model 114 complete with gear driven altazimuth mounts, wood tripod, case, and in the customer's choice of either f/14.2 (Telex Codeword Asedabais, No. 511071) and in f/17.5 (Asalven, No. 511071)."

http://www.company7....nitron_114.html

If Nihon Seiko was merely a middleman, never "making" any optics, what firm manufactured the lenses for Unitron scopes?

It's also interesting to note that, despite Meade promoting the Wide Angles as "Erfles" some of them, at least, are NOT Erfles, but rather Type 1 Konigs (4-element). UO Zebra Konigs (and Plossls) bear the "N.S." sticker. So even if it's true that Nihon Seiko is merely a middleman, I think that it's more likely that the middleman responsible for the glass in the Meades was Nihon Seiko rather than Nikon. Also, Nikon's Orthoscopics of the same era came in more conventional focal lengths 5mm, 7mm, 9mm, 12.5mm and 18mm.

I'm open to other suggestions as to origin of these Meades, of course. Do you believe Nikon actually manufactured any of these eyepieces?

Regards,

Jim

#25 Blake Andrews

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Posted 18 March 2012 - 09:37 AM

Hi Jim,

Thanks for sharing your insights. Clearly, Nihon Seiko Kenkyusho were the optical systems engineers of their day.

I still struggle with the connection between N.S. and the MeadeRG/Orthostar(2ndGen)/Bushnell (MOB?) series eyepieces. The parallel construction of everything marked N.S. is so different from the aluminum barrel / top lens locking ring pattern used on the MOB eyepieces. Maybe we can try to eat this elephant one bite at a time by looking for additional patterns...

So here are the questions I'm pondering (and really need some help with)...

1) What time-frame were these eyepieces produced (Meade RG, Bushnell, and Cave Orthostar 2nd Gen)?
2) Do they all have the "JAPAN MOP" marking on the eye lens barrel?
3) Are there any Meade-RG's without the "JAPAN MOP" marking?
4) What is the focal length pattern of each series?
5) Do the series focal length patterns correlate to other series of dissimilar construction?
6) Are there examples of each with JTII stickers on them? If so, are the JTII stickers consistent or different - both in style and also the inspection number?

Since the series of questions has broadened from the objective of the original post, I'll ask for a little guidance here: Should I open a new thread for this to engage owners of Bushnell and Orthostar eyepieces?

Thanks!
Blake


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