I was going to add this to the "history is slipping away" thread, but I did not want to hijack it with my comments. After getting a PM from Mod Chuck about Ed byers health and the suggestion to do an article about him, I called Ed today. We talked about a few products I bought from him and a little about his past. He's got some big armor going up for sale pretty soon and he said he's selling off his research grade projects over the next year. ( Anyone for a 28" cassegrain and mount?)
Ed is a engineer and a machinist and he is a bit hard to talk to at first, but we got along fine after a few minutes. I told him about an idea I had to do an article about him and ask him if he would spend a few afternoons talking to me about his life. I told him about the "history" thread that was started here and the importance it meant to our group here on CN. He wanted to start right away as he brought up his past projects and ideas, but I stopped him and said I wanted to prepare some questions as to not waste his time.
That's where all of you come in. I would like to start a dialog here about Ed Byers and his contribution to telescope industry. I would also like you to contribute questions for him to answer about his life. As an example, I told him about the Cave website (he's reading it now!) and he made the comment that after 1962 he didn't full around with those "toys" anymore and went into research grade quality optics and mounts. I mentioned I owned a Unitron 5" telescope and he called it "a schoolboys telescope earned while running a paper route". He's not being snobbish. On the contrary, he's been locked in to building his high quality components for so long, he doesn't recognize the smaller stuff anymore.
Ed was in the service where he learned his machinist skills. After leaving the service he went to work on the railroad. How he got from there to telescopes is a question I will ask. I have a friend who has told me a bit about Ed and he told me he would hook me up with two even closer friends for me to talk to.
I told Ed that we would have our first session in a few days. My friend says that he is a bit depressed over the loss of his wife, his son passing away recently, and his dog. That’s a lot to take when your 88 years old. I have a feeling he really wanted to talk. I think it may help him remember some of the good times also. Maybe that will help get his mind off of things.
So let’s have a discussion about him! Please submit ideas to me here or in PM’s if you prefer.