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Circle-T: Towa or Tany?

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#1 hottr6

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Posted 11 June 2014 - 08:04 AM

In this thread, it is claimed that a Circle-T stamp on a classic refractor name plate indicates manufacture by Towa.

In this thread, it is claimed that a Circle-T stamp on a classic volcano-top eyepiece indicates manufacture by Tany.

This confuses the heck out of me. The stamps appear identical. Were there two different Japanese optics manufacturers with identical stamps?

#2 roscoe

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Posted 11 June 2014 - 09:29 AM

I'm dimly remembering that the logos were a bit different, somehow.....the T was connected to the ring in the Tany, I think.

#3 clamchip

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Posted 11 June 2014 - 10:13 AM

Sometime ago I tried to figure it out and here is a little chicken scratch:

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#4 roscoe

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Posted 11 June 2014 - 06:43 PM

Here's an old post (2009) by Sheldon F. in an EP discussion:

"David, those eyepieces were made by Carton. Carton made eyepieces for Towa, Vixen, Celestron, Edmund Sci., Tele-Vue and God knows how many more. The marks that were put on were for the Japanese companies that exported them. I bought eyepieces directly from Carton in the 80's and there is no mark on them. I picked up some Carton surplus years ago that had Tele-Vue, Edmund eyepieces, barrels etc. without any marks. But, I had Vixen eyepieces & barlows with their mark on it."


I have both UO and Celestron EP's with circle T (the not-connected one) on them, including UO volcano-top orthos and Celestron flat-top Orthos. I don't think my UO HD ortho has a makers' mark on it. I've also seen both thin-font and bold T's in the circle, and wondered if they were different eras or different makers....
I had always thought the volcano-tops were Kasai. but now I'm not so sure.
The circle-T scopes I have, I had always assumed were Towa, but were they secretly Carton????

#5 fjs

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Posted 11 June 2014 - 06:47 PM

Good post, Russ. Thanks!

:gotpopcorn:

#6 Mariner@sg

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Posted 12 June 2014 - 01:56 AM

Sometime ago I tried to figure it out and here is a little chicken scratch:


The chicken was right though the portion on the logo might be fuzzy.

#7 catboat

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Posted 12 June 2014 - 05:44 AM

This link to Tani may be of interest. Based on this, I consider all the circle-T stickered volcano tops sold by UO, KK, Celestron, Edmund, Parks, b/c optica, Coulter and… (???) to have been assembled at the Tani workshop.

Tani

@Russ, I can't square this with the Carton info you quoted from Sheldon. Do you have a link to the original thread?

#8 roscoe

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Posted 12 June 2014 - 06:32 AM

here's the link (sorry, I don't know how to shrink 'em) to that thread. Sheldon's post is about 10 down....

http://www.cloudynig...d=classics&a...,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,All_Forums,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,&Words=&Searchpage=3&Limit=25&Main=2867644&Search=true&where=&Name=24641&daterange=&newerval=&newertype=&olderval=&oldertype=&bodyprev=

#9 catboat

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Posted 12 June 2014 - 07:26 AM

Thanks for the link, Russ. For what it's worth, I take the Tani workshop to have been an assembler of the circle-t eyepieces and a source for retailers. I doubt that Mr. Tani did more than assemble -- at least that's what the pictures in the Tani link show. So I assume the glass, housings, barrels were all supplied to Tani from other sources. Perhaps Carton fits as a supplier?

#10 bremms

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Posted 12 June 2014 - 08:01 AM

It's the enigma of Japanese optics manufacture. I think you might need somebody that worked or works in the industry there to shed some light.

#11 roscoe

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Posted 12 June 2014 - 08:40 AM

Perhaps Carton fits as a supplier?


That's what I'm starting to think, based partially on Sheldon's post....... If he really was a one-man shop, certainly he was able to sort the class for quality (I always wonder what brand gets hung on the low-end glass....)
but if he had grinding/polishing equipment, it likely would have shown up in those photos.

#12 catboat

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Posted 12 June 2014 - 08:59 AM

Russ, That's pretty much what I think too -- altho thinking doesn't get me too far and I'm content to let the supplier questions slide. Knowing that the eps in question were assembled by Tani is enough of a solution for me in terms of circle-T eps (circle-T scopes and associated eps are a whole different matter!).

I see Mr. T. playing a similar assembly role as Don Yeier, ordering glass and components to certain specs -- altho Don Y. also sold directly to retail buyers and I don't think Tani did.

Overall, I agree with the response from 'bremms'. Without interviews and info from people who worked in Japanese scope/eyepiece industry, we won't know much about who did what.

#13 bremms

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Posted 12 June 2014 - 09:27 AM

I'm thinking there are number of shops producing the actual glass. Others like Tani, Towa use these to assemble EP's, Objectives and other optical items. Who or what is Carton? another place that put things together. It's my feeling they have cottage industries that work under the umbrella of a few of these companies, Or some larger optics manufacturers like Canon, Nikon and Pentax are making components. Nobody seems to really know.

#14 Bomber Bob

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Posted 12 June 2014 - 10:05 AM

It's my feeling they have cottage industries that work under the umbrella of a few of these companies

I agree - especially from the 1950s & 1960s - that the opticians were probably small family-owned shops in and around Tokyo. Lack of records makes it almost impossible to pin down who made what glass for which assembler and/or importer. Some scopes (like my Monolux 4380) have a surname or nickname glyph under the finderscope mount, or maker's mark(s) stamped on the label, the cell, or on much less obvious places - or a jumble of these clues. But yes, facts are tougher to come by.

#15 hottr6

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Posted 13 June 2014 - 07:49 AM

This link to Tani may be of interest. Based on this, I consider all the circle-T stickered volcano tops sold by UO, KK, Celestron, Edmund, Parks, b/c optica, Coulter and… (???) to have been assembled at the Tani workshop.

Tani

I'll be darned! I always thought my Circle-T eyepieces were Towa. A closer examination of the stamps on my volcano tops has the T connected with the circle. I could not find a Towa stamp anywhere, except on nameplates affixed to OTAs and 0.965" barlows.

However, I find it hard to believe that a 1-man shop ("Mr Tani") could have assembled the hundreds of thousands of eyepieces that carry the Circle-T stamp.

#16 Mark9473

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Posted 13 June 2014 - 08:13 AM

I don't think that sketch is correct; at least on my Circle-T orthos the T is not connected to the circle.
See also here: http://www.aokswiss....tany/ortho.html
The information previously on the Kokusai Kohki website shows the same logo and also refers to Mr. Tani. This is the text that was there at the end:

End of the line 12/6/2012

With the retirement of Tani-san, maker of the venerable "volcano top" OR eyepieces, we now sadly announce that the entire line of his eyepieces are out of production and out of stock. My deepest apologies to the many customers we had to inform regarding our sudden inability to fill your orders. If a new line of eyepieces ever does rise from the ashes, we will be the first to let you know. But for today we bid a fond bon voyage to Tani-san, and an even fonder Thank You to all our many customers from all over the world for their eyepiece orders. Hoping you are getting plenty of opportunity to enjoy these optical gems. Wishing you clear night skies filled with way too many fine objects to observe :-) Barry Gooley / Kokusai Kohki

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#17 Bomber Bob

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Posted 13 June 2014 - 08:41 AM

Another great CN Classics thread - packed full of valuable info and outside sources.

I have a set of .965 Tani volcano top Orthos, and the glass is very good - almost comparable to my Meade 1.25" Research Grade Orthos that I bought in the late 70s - early 80s.

#18 bremms

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Posted 13 June 2014 - 09:23 AM

i always found the 12.5mm and 9mm VT Ortho a sweet spot. nice to used even if the field is a bit small. Still love my Orthos, but I have gone to the dark side of Naglers and ES 82's

#19 clamchip

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Posted 13 June 2014 - 10:05 AM

Besides the whole circle T subject one thing that has always confused me is the circle T Edmund finders.
The construction is so much different than what is found on a known circle T Towa telescope.
Here is a later model with sticker, earlier versions were engraved:

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#20 clamchip

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Posted 13 June 2014 - 10:15 AM

Here is the whole finder. This finder is beautifully made. The objective has a true cell. Helical focus by rotating the objective.
Reticle can also be focused by rotating the eyepiece and incorporates a lock to save the position.

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#21 greju

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Posted 13 June 2014 - 09:14 PM

Circle T Towa?

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#22 greju

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Posted 13 June 2014 - 09:17 PM

Circle T not Towa? And to confuse things even more I believe there may be more than 2 "Circle T's". :question:

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