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PRESENTING THE ...Alice Mae Weiss, 1951 Skyscope,

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#51 TOM KIEHL

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Posted 28 January 2014 - 12:03 AM

Hi Tom,

What a great history to go with the scope! I think as collectors of telescopes we all try to collect a bit of history. As more and more finds come to us briefly third hand from someone who took a chance at an estate sale and is quickly reselling for some benefit on their investment/risk, we lose the story behind the instrument. I have a number of good telescope histories but they are in the oral tradition, stories given to me that I have shared here but aren't documented like you have done. Thank you!

I name my telescopes after the previous (long term) owner. Scopes that have come to me via eBay or shopgoodwill are the no name scopes. They are not the Shannon, Cindy, Dano, or Conner, Holly, Salvador, Kaleen, Megan, Siple, and Nicholas that I actually speak to by name as I carry them out into the yard! These named scopes have a story that I keep in my head when observing. I have a name to thank while I put them away. Weird but...

Anyway I have a SkyScope too. It came from the original purchaser a few years ago. In the original mailing box, swaddled in an old bed sheet. I didn't meet the seller/owner as I had a family member pick it up for me. Having a story to go with would have been very nice.

Good work!


Why thank you very much Kieth, All I can say is, "You took the words right out of my mouth". :lol: and I'm glad there is someone else besides me that names thier scopes too. :lol:
As Doctor Evil said in the movie Austin Powers..." I think I shall call her ALICE MAE" My first female gender telescope. She can play with the rest of the boys. :lol:

#52 TOM KIEHL

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Posted 28 January 2014 - 10:43 AM

I also have her complete collection of Sky and Telescope magazines ,from 1951 To present....


I checked your want ad. You sure did make a serious dent in the list! :bow:

That is a cool looking 'scope even without the history. All that documentation takes it to a whole different level.

How I got this scope and magazines is a story in itself ...And A Long One At That..


I hope you're not being a tease, but will share some of the story at some point.


ME?.... A Tease, Not at all :lol: I said it was a long story , you ask for it :lol:

And So It Goes


The following is a description on how I Thomas M. Kiehl became the custodian of the Alice Mae Weiss 1951 Sky-Scope telescope.
It all started on 1/13/14 when I received a response to an ad on Craiglist that I had , asking for Sky and Telescope magazines ,Wanted....below is a copy of the response I got from Kathy, ( Alice's daughter)

Kathy,

In browsing for a buyer for magazines I found your listing. I have Sky & Telescope magazines from May 1951 to present with only 1 missing. These magazines are from a non-smoking home and have been stored in an in-house store room and are in very good to excellent condition. I see you are from Ohio and these magazines are in Kewanee IL. If you are interested please contact me. Thanks,Kathy

Me,

Hello Kathy, ,,,Yessss, I am very much interested...What would you like to do with them? Sell them as a lot ? OR sell just the ones I need to complete my collection? I'm willing to pick up if need be. to save on shipping ... here is a list of what I need...........

These two responses were sent via. Craigslist relay. Sometimes this method works and sometimes it doesn't . So I waited two days for a response and there was none. So I tried again with this.

Me,

Kathy,
Are you getting my replies through Craigslist????? sometimes replies go to spam when Craigslist relay is used

Still, no response, So I went to Craigslist in Kewanee,IL. And did a search for a possible ad that maybe Kathy might of posted, and yes I did find her ad, and responded to her ad. Kathy did get that response and replied back to me.

Kathy,

Tom,I did not get the other emails. Thank you for your response. I really have no idea what they are worth. I have seen prices all over the board. My mother passed and she had saved many things including the Sky & Telescope magazines. If you could give me an idea what you would be willing to pay, we could start there. Thanks,Kathy

Me,

What Kathy,,, FOR the whole lot ? or by the piece?

Kathy,

The whole lot

Me,

I thought you would say that.... Darn, I don't know ? That's allot of paper! I can really only use about 144 issues out of the 750 sky and telescope magazines but I would buy the lot if the price was right. I have no interest in the Nat Geo's..I would then have to try to sell the doubles , just like you are trying to do... but if you want to be rid of them to open up some space. Then make me an offer that I can't refuse and i will come and get them out of your house and you'll have some extra CASH. But I'll have the added expense of Gas round trip to get them.

Kathy,

So....what’s the right price for you???

Me, ( the next day)


Good morning Kathy,

First off please let me back up here a little bit. You said that this was your mother's collection of astronomy ( Sky and Telescope) magazines and that she has passed. Please let me apologize , and say I'm sorry for your loss. My mother is 91 years old and living in a assisted living facility here in Ohio and every day is a blessing. Was your mother an amateur astronomer? Did she have a telescope?
I myself , like your mother, collect many things also. Right now it is classic telescopes and these old magazines. I got started collecting Sky and Telescope and Astronomy magazine last year when I just missed by 15 min. an entire collection of both from the first to present, off of Craigslist in Pennsylvania for $150.00 ....Since then I have been driven to acquire these the hard way.
Being a retired water treatment plant operator,I have taken up being an amateur astronomer and restore old telescopes as a hobby. I have had two separate collections given to me ,by other astronomers in or club, and 78 from a person in PA. @ $1.00 apiece for $100.00 ,, shipped the shipping on those was $35 for Media postage...They get heavy LOL....I presently am waiting on another 26 Sky and Tell mags. from Matane ,Quebec, @ $1.00 apiece and $32.97 shipping = a total of $58.97 these 26 when they come in, would be subtracted from the wont list I sent you, making 118 issues usable for me, instead of 144..
Kathy,.... IF ....I was so lucky to buy these , the 118 they would fill a massive hole in my collection... But I would have to drive my 2001 Dodge truck 509 mi. one way at 7.5 hrs. and at least $ 200.00 in gas round trip.
Most...SANE, people just download these back issues off of the Internet for free but not me..LOL.
With that all said ,,,,would you consider $2.00 an issue for the 118 issues that I need and I pick up , and you don't have to mess with shipping them and you can sell the rest. Or I'll take them all and I would give the ones I don't need to a good friend. That would be $ 236.00 for the 118 issues, plus my gas at a total for me around $436.00 for 118 issues of Sky and Telescope magazines,,,,WOW...
Please let me know , if your answer is NO, I'll understand.

Best Regards , Tom

Kathy,

You, Sir, have a deal. $236.00 and you take them all. Sound OK? I know it would give her great joy to know they are in the hands of someone who truly appreciates them. Thank you for your condolences. Yes, I guess you could call her an amateur astronomer, but not so much in her later years. She too was 91 when she passed. I also have her telescope which she bought in August 1951……Skyscope ‘The Finder 125’ w/ book. 35 power eyepiece. She was very well read and had a mind like a steel trap. So if the $236 for all the Sky & Telescope works for you, we have a deal and you can let me know when it is convenient for you to come. Thanks, Kathy

Me,

AWESOME ! ....And thank you so very much, Kathy. When and Where and what Time would be good for you to do this transfer of custodianship??? Being retired I can leave just about any time,,,, Just say when works best for you..
Also may I have a contact phone number ? God forbid, I get lost, of delayed on the trip over?
Kathy, would you consider selling your Mother's telescope to me also? I would be honored to add it to my collection. and keep it for the rest of my years.

Thank you so very much, Tom Kiehl

So on January 20, 2014, I made the drive, and took on custodianship of the ….Alice Mae Weiss 1951 Sky-Scope, telescope , and her collection of Sky and Telescope magazines.

And So It Goes
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#53 Bomber Bob

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Posted 28 January 2014 - 11:20 AM

Lucky dog! As Miss Scarlett would say, "I'm pea green with envy!"
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#54 TOM KIEHL

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Posted 28 January 2014 - 11:25 AM

Lucky dog! As Miss Scarlett would say, "I'm pea green with envy!"


I'll SAY.....Lost in cyber space, and found again :lol:

#55 Bomber Bob

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Posted 28 January 2014 - 11:33 AM

I would say that the design fits the time: simplicity, and low-cost. My parents balked at the prices in the Mayflower & Unitron catalogs of the early 70's, which is why I wound up with a much cheaper Sears refractor to start my hobby!
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#56 TOM KIEHL

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Posted 28 January 2014 - 11:46 AM

I would say that the design fits the time: simplicity, and low-cost. My parents balked at the prices in the Mayflower & Unitron catalogs of the early 70's, which is why I wound up with a much cheaper Sears refractor to start my hobby!


At $25.00 back in 1951,,,, that would equal $218.00 today. :foreheadslap:

#57 Terra Nova

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Posted 28 January 2014 - 12:10 PM

Hi Tom,

I stand corrected then on the mount. I was just going by what I could see in your photographs and from those photographs, the mount did not look to me as if it would be adequate for the load. 1) tripod leg thickness- the legs appear thin and the same diameter all the way down, the load bearing strength of any column is directionally proportional to the cross-sectional area of that column, all other things (such as material strength) being equal. 2) tripod leg length- the period and amplitude of harmonic vibration is proportional to the length of the span. 3) Axles and joints- these appear small in diameter with minimal bearing surfaces and with locking tension adjusted by simple nuts or wing nuts (hard to see). 4) Slow motions- I didn't see any. All these things led me to believe, (mistakingly I assume based on your actual experience) that the telescope would be hard to point, move, and track, especially at higher powers as determined by defraction limited optics, and also that given the mount and tripod, it would be subject to vibration with long periods required for damping, again, especially when using higher powers. All this goes to show, how, apparently one can be wrong about things by just looking at the pictures and drawing simple conclusion based on basic principles of physics and engineering. To me, the mount and tripod, just looked spindly and flimsy. Apparently from what you say, it is not. Illustrating yet again, that one obviously "can't judge a book by its cover" and that I was quick to jump to an unwarranted conclusion. This is why actual visual reports of such instruments are vital to our understanding of their performance.

Lastly, I never intended to compare this telescope to a Unitron or suggest that you should have a collection of Unitrons instead. My comment as to "that's where Unitron and a few others got it right and most others didn't" was simply referring to the fact that is well known to anyone with practical experience using Unitrons, namely, that Unitron mounts are very well paired to the loads of their optical tubes, and are, especially with regard to their equatorial models, even over-mounted. On the other hand, the vast majority of lesser telescopes of the time had mounts that were simply inadequate.
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#58 A6Q6

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Posted 28 January 2014 - 12:47 PM

"I said it was a long story , you ask for it" Thanks Tom, this thread just gets better and better.:waytogo:

#59 rcwolpert

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Posted 28 January 2014 - 02:07 PM

I love this thread - so much fun! I can't wait for a report on the first night out with it! :bow:
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#60 TOM KIEHL

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Posted 28 January 2014 - 02:44 PM

Hi Tom,

I stand corrected then on the mount. I was just going by what I could see in your photographs and from those photographs, the mount did not look to me as if it would be adequate for the load. 1) tripod leg thickness- the legs appear thin and the same diameter all the way down, the load bearing strength of any column is directionally proportional to the cross-sectional area of that column, all other things (such as material strength) being equal. 2) tripod leg length- the period and amplitude of harmonic vibration is proportional to the length of the span. 3) Axles and joints- these appear small in diameter with minimal bearing surfaces and with locking tension adjusted by simple nuts or wing nuts (hard to see). 4) Slow motions- I didn't see any. All these things led me to believe, (mistakingly I assume based on your actual experience) that the telescope would be hard to point, move, and track, especially at higher powers as determined by defraction limited optics, and also that given the mount and tripod, it would be subject to vibration with long periods required for damping, again, especially when using higher powers. All this goes to show, how, apparently one can be wrong about things by just looking at the pictures and drawing simple conclusion based on basic principles of physics and engineering. To me, the mount and tripod, just looked spindly and flimsy. Apparently from what you say, it is not. Illustrating yet again, that one obviously "can't judge a book by its cover" and that I was quick to jump to an unwarranted conclusion. This is why actual visual reports of such instruments are vital to our understanding of their performance.

Lastly, I never intended to compare this telescope to a Unitron or suggest that you should have a collection of Unitrons instead. My comment as to "that's where Unitron and a few others got it right and most others didn't" was simply referring to the fact that is well known to anyone with practical experience using Unitrons, namely, that Unitron mounts are very well paired to the loads of their optical tubes, and are, especially with regard to their equatorial models, even over-mounted. On the other hand, the vast majority of lesser telescopes of the time had mounts that were simply inadequate.


Hey Terra NO Problem what so ever....As I said .." For the sake of friendly conversation"...The legs are made of 1 piece 3/8" Iron water pipe, the head is cast Alumn., that the legs screw into with pipe threads. The entire mount weighs almost 4 times as much as the cardboard OTA. you can pick up the OTA with 2 fingers. :lol: I don't think the optics will take much more power than the supplied Dual lens 60x Ramsden. Besides, it is the only eyepiece that came with the scope, and it is an odd size. you have to move the eyepiece in and out to gain focus, Hence the longer Ep. barrel.
I just want to see with it as Alice might have.
BTW. if you look real close, with the right light you can notice a very slight discoloration on the Leatherette covering of the OTA right behind the finder scope, a oval aprox. 3" across, where she may have rested her cheek while using the finder.. Maybe from skin oils, or in the case of this telescope......... MAKE UP :lol:

#61 Terra Nova

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Posted 28 January 2014 - 02:47 PM

"if you look real close, with the right light you can notice a very slight discoloration on the Leatherette covering of the OTA right behind the finder scope, a oval aprox. 3" across, where she may have rested her cheek while using the finder.. Maybe from skin oils, or in the case of this telescope......... MAKE UP"

Awwwwwwwwww ;)
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#62 TOM KIEHL

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Posted 28 January 2014 - 02:55 PM

:thanx: Harper

#63 Dave M

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Posted 28 January 2014 - 02:58 PM

"if you look real close, with the right light you can notice a very slight discoloration on the Leatherette covering of the OTA right behind the finder scope, a oval aprox. 3" across, where she may have rested her cheek while using the finder.. Maybe from skin oils, or in the case of this telescope......... MAKE UP"

Awwwwwwwwww ;)


Thats DNA :grin: :poke: Tom and i had that conversation
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#64 TOM KIEHL

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Posted 28 January 2014 - 03:07 PM

I love this thread - so much fun! I can't wait for a report on the first night out with it! :bow:


For SURE Bob... I can't wait too, But I do live in OH NO OHIO :lol: Been socked in, for it seems months, with clouds. Almost took Her out last night but with SUB Zero Temps. better sense prevailed... :lol:

#65 snork

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Posted 28 January 2014 - 04:21 PM

"if you look real close, with the right light you can notice a very slight discoloration on the Leatherette covering of the OTA right behind the finder scope, a oval aprox. 3" across, where she may have rested her cheek while using the finder.. Maybe from skin oils, or in the case of this telescope......... MAKE UP"

Awwwwwwwwww ;)


Thats DNA :grin: :poke: Tom and i had that conversation

I'm crossing my fingers for you on it be make up :grin:

"When my father took me to the Hayden Planetarium in 1948, I was injected with the astronomy bug. My interest was piqued with a 3-inch Skyscope reflector, a fine $30 instrument with a cardboard tube and pipe fitting legs." - Al Nagler
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#66 Bomber Bob

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Posted 28 January 2014 - 05:09 PM

"I love this thread - so much fun!"

It sure is! My Master's is in Central European History, and these background stories on vintage scopes are a treat!
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#67 TOM KIEHL

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Posted 28 January 2014 - 06:20 PM

"if you look real close, with the right light you can notice a very slight discoloration on the Leatherette covering of the OTA right behind the finder scope, a oval aprox. 3" across, where she may have rested her cheek while using the finder.. Maybe from skin oils, or in the case of this telescope......... MAKE UP"

Awwwwwwwwww ;)


Thats DNA :grin: :poke: Tom and i had that conversation


No clones in this scopes forseeable future.......Just CLOWNS :lol:

#68 Dave M

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Posted 29 January 2014 - 11:22 AM

Tom, It was clear last night, did you brave the -12 deg temp for first light :grin:
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#69 photiost

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Posted 29 January 2014 - 01:23 PM

Nice instrument !!
.
:cool:
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#70 TOM KIEHL

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Posted 29 January 2014 - 08:55 PM

Tom, It was clear last night, did you brave the -12 deg temp for first light :grin:

No Dave , too darn cold, and it's clear tonight too and its still too darn cold ,,,darn I hate this winter weather :coldday:

#71 rcwolpert

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Posted 29 January 2014 - 10:03 PM

Tom, It was clear last night, did you brave the -12 deg temp for first light :grin:

No Dave , too darn cold, and it's clear tonight too and its still too darn cold ,,,darn I hate this winter weather :coldday:


I'd bet that Alice Mae Weiss would have it out tonight - probably for a few hours! :lol: Just kidding!
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#72 TOM KIEHL

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Posted 29 January 2014 - 10:35 PM

Bob , Sure isn't anything happenin' on here tonight that's for sure ... don't TWIST my arm.... I just might... even if it's just M42 :lol:

#73 gribley

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Posted 30 January 2014 - 12:42 AM

Tom, this is one of the most amazing things I've ever seen, and I'm sure Alice's family is honored that you would remember her in this way. Thank you for sharing it.
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#74 TOM KIEHL

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Posted 30 January 2014 - 08:11 AM

Tom, this is one of the most amazing things I've ever seen, and I'm sure Alice's family is honored that you would remember her in this way. Thank you for sharing it.


Thank you gribley, and welcome to cloudynights Clasics. I see you are in central PA. Close to Altoona ????? I was raised there.. ;)

#75 Chuck Hards

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Posted 30 January 2014 - 08:50 AM

"I love this thread - so much fun!"

It sure is! My Master's is in Central European History, and these background stories on vintage scopes are a treat!


My sister's Masters is in Anthropology and she's the same way. Wants to know the provenance of EVERYTHING.
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