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110 mm Zeiss needs TLC

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#1 Patrik Iver

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Posted 25 October 2014 - 05:04 AM

I've posted about this same telescope in the refractors-forum some 3 - 4 years ago, but there was not that much interest at the time, so I'd thought I'd try again now in this forum.

 

The university (Åbo Akademi, Turku, Finland) I studied engineering at many years ago has an observatory dome on the library building. It is visible from a balcony of a house I used to live in at the time, and I sometimers wondered what (if anything) was in the dome. I knew it was not actively used even then (20 - 25 years ago).

 

A web search I did when I originally posted about this, came up with a link with these high resolution pictures (from 2004):

http://users.utu.fi/...i/AA_index.html

 

So it is a 110 mm equatorially mounted Zeiss refractor with mechanical clock drive and a Zeiss astograph riding piggyback. Would be a massive and demanding restoration project...

 

I'm not 100 % sure that no-one has rescued the telescope since then, but I think it is most likely  sitting where it was, and in the same condition (plus 10 more neglected years).

 

I haven't tried approaching anyone who would know which department actually owns it, and if they could be persuaded to part with it. If a deal could be negotiated, then there is the question about restoration, and finally about what to do with it, as is is a big pedestal-mounted instrument that really should be housed in an observatory.

 

A fine telescope like that should really be used and enjoyed. Preferrably in lightly and lovingly restored condition.

 

Ideas or comments, anyone?

 

Edit: Note the link to the scanned original manual high up on the page.

 

Edit 2: Note that two of the boxed instruments seem to be non-related, but that there are atleast two Zeiss cases: one with a diagonal and some eyepieces, and one with some sort of astrometric device(?)


Edited by Patrik Iver, 25 October 2014 - 07:35 AM.

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#2 Jim Curry

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Posted 25 October 2014 - 06:40 AM

That is quite a find!  A Zeiss astrograph, too.  One instrument looks like a filar micrometer, another a spectroscope, and others I couldn't identify.  This is a serious trove!

 

Jim



#3 turk123

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Posted 25 October 2014 - 11:01 AM

The would make a beautiful restoration project.  With my recent experience with a local collage I would approach this with them as "saving" the telescope.  My 16" Cave does not have the value of the Zeiss, so they may want a "small" donation on your part (small might be a considerable amount for this one.)   Universities and colleges are probably the same all over the world.  Thing like this are either left to deteriorate or are kicked to the curb.  Then when you decide to approach them to save it from turning to rust, it suddenly is worth more than they've ever realized.  

 

I would approach the university president first to see if there is any chance the university would be willing to work with you.  Then present him with a proposal.  I would be willing to help you with this even though I have only the one experience to go by.  I presented the college I worked with,  with my proposal and goal for the project.  I covered it with a legal contract and proposal for insurance coverage.  All this will help them realize that you are serious in restoring this telescope.  Then prepare to wait.  And wait.   The good news is if it is still there, you do not have to rush to put this all together.  I would tell the president if he is willing to consider this, to keep this confidential for a bit.  Of course you just announced the whole thing on the internet!

 

 

PM me.

 

Turk



#4 Patrik Iver

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Posted 25 October 2014 - 11:31 AM

I did announce it on the Internet. In fact I've announced it previously also...  :grin:

 

APM used to have a restored one like that for € 39.000,-, but I can' find it now (or any other classics) on the new APM-website. Can't say if that price was with VAT, but the restored cost would be (have been) about +/- 50 k$.

 

I don't have the money, skill, time, resources, tools e.t.c. to restore it, not do I have the observatory to house it, or the land to build one on. Neither does it fit my observing habits - I have modern ligher faster scopes that are portable, and thus fit me and my habits better.

 

However, I'd love to use it for an evening or three, but ownership - realistically not really...

 

What I'd like to see, is someone resurrecting it. Preferrably for actual use, and not for sale at a profit.


Edited by Patrik Iver, 25 October 2014 - 11:33 AM.


#5 Mr. Bill

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Posted 25 October 2014 - 11:39 AM

Has the dome been left open....sure looks like it from the amount of deterioration.

 

:question:



#6 Astrojensen

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Posted 25 October 2014 - 12:53 PM

While I can restore it, and would, if I could get my hands on the scope, even picking it up for free is not an option, when it sits over a thousand kilometres from home... I can't even afford to go pick it up. My car isn't even big enough.

 

Unless... This is a crazy as heck idea, but...

 

I could drive all the way in my tractor. I have a trailer for it (with brakes and all, road legal) that is more than big enough. If done during summer, I could camp in the open. The whole trip would take a month or more. 

 

Nah, too crazy. Could be fun, though. 

 

 

Clear skies!

Thomas, Denmark


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#7 Astrojensen

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Posted 25 October 2014 - 02:15 PM

Hmm. Some top of the head math says I can drive to Stockholm in four days in my Fordson tractor, then take the ferry to Turku. The university is straight up the road from the harbor, literally. 

 

Why am I even thinking about this in this much detail? Nononono. I don't even have the money.

 

....

 

Crowfunding? 

 

I must be seriously daydreaming.

 

 

Clear skies!
Thomas, Denmark


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#8 turk123

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Posted 25 October 2014 - 02:44 PM

Crazy ideas.  That's how projects like this get done.     What a picture that would make!    :FarmerRon:     tractor-smiley-emoticon.gif

 


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#9 Patrik Iver

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Posted 25 October 2014 - 02:53 PM

I'll help you carry it down the stairs, as long as you take the heavy end of the mount pedestal.  :)

 

Seriously: Someone needs to rescue it. However, I'm pretty certain that once enyone shows an interest, the owner would immediately try to determine a market value, and I've a feeling it might not be insignificant, given how complete and relatively undamaged it appears to be, despite the dirtiness and corrosion.

 

If it is eventually rescued, I hope it would go somewhere where I'd have a chance to eventualle see, and try observing with, the resurrected telescope.



#10 Astrojensen

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Posted 25 October 2014 - 03:06 PM

 

I'll help you carry it down the stairs, as long as you take the heavy end of the mount pedestal.

Deal! 

 

 

I'm pretty certain that once enyone shows an interest, the owner would immediately try to determine a market value, and I've a feeling it might not be insignificant

This is usually the biggest roadblock on the way to restoring a rare telescope. 

 

 

I'm pretty certain that once enyone shows an interest, the owner would immediately try to determine a market value, and I've a feeling it might not be insignificant

As much as I want it, my plans are a bit unrealistic at the moment. Are there no finnish Zeiss collectors who would like to restore it?

 

 

Clear skies!

Thomas, Denmark



#11 Patrik Iver

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Posted 25 October 2014 - 03:23 PM

The guys in the pictures were/are from the local astronomical society/club (except for the guy wearing a tie, whom I suspect was from the university), so I expect the existence of this telescope is well known in the appropriate circles. I've never heard anything about anyone restoring it, so likely it is still in place.

 

The local club (Turun Ursa) owns and operates the old University of Turku (Turun Yliopisto, the Finnish language university in town, while Åbo Akademi teaches in Swedish) observatory.

 

Link to a Wikipedia page in Swedish, which you as a Dane are likely to understand: http://sv.m.wikipedi...ä_observatorium

 

That place houses amoung other things a 150 mm long focus refractor made by Yrjö Väisälä, professor of astronomy, master optician and discoverer of 128 asteroids, among other things. http://en.m.wikipedi...ki/Yrjö_Väisälä

 

So maybe they are set for tools of this class? While the Zeiss surely is superb optically, it is only 110 mm, and Dr. Väisälä by all accounts was a brilliant optician, so probably his lens is on the same quality level.

 

Edit: The current Turku University observatory is somewhat more rurally located just down the road from where I now live. The tradition of optical excellence lives on in the company Opteon, with figures mirrors like these: http://www.opteon.fi/?p=portfolio

 

Edit 2: A picture showing Yrjö Väisälä, and his student and eventual successor Liisi Oterma (the first woman in Finland to earn a doctorate in astronomy (on telescope opics) pushing glass: http://www.helsinki....vat/oterma1.jpg

Dr. Väisälä described her as "a whizz at grinding".


Edited by Patrik Iver, 25 October 2014 - 03:51 PM.


#12 clamchip

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Posted 25 October 2014 - 03:50 PM

The journey on a Fordson tractor would be something you would never forget, a wonderful adventure.

My brother and I toured Europe on a 350cc Jawa motorcycle back in the 1970's and that event is precious to me I'll never forget it. We had no money, no clothes, and had a great time.

 

Robert



#13 Astrojensen

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Posted 25 October 2014 - 04:07 PM

 

The journey on a Fordson tractor would be something you would never forget, a wonderful adventure.

An adventure it would be, for sure. I would need to check up on the tractor first, to make sure it could survive the trip. The clutch is a bit worn and the electrical system needs a general overhaul. Other than that, she's actually remarkably fresh for a 53 year old tractor with nearly 11,000 hours under the bonnet. 

 

 

Clear skies!
Thomas, Denmark



#14 Astrojensen

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Posted 25 October 2014 - 04:12 PM

If it's not actually closer to 21,000 hours... Some parts of the hydraulic linkage are so worn, it makes me think the higher hour number might actually be true. She still runs just fine. They sure don't make 'em like they used to. 

 

 

Clear skies!

Thomas, Denmark



#15 turk123

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Posted 25 October 2014 - 05:54 PM

OH my !    This really would bring real meaning to "Road trip".



#16 Nave

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Posted 25 October 2014 - 05:59 PM

The journey on a Fordson tractor would be something you would never forget, a wonderful adventure.

My brother and I toured Europe on a 350cc Jawa motorcycle back in the 1970's and that event is precious to me I'll never forget it. We had no money, no clothes, and had a great time.

 

Robert

That's awesome.

 

I did some hitchhiking through Europe: Paris-Madrid; Carcasonne-Bordeaux; Montpellier-Prague; Prague-Strasbourg; Amsterdam-Metz.

 

No money, no clothes, great time... precious... never forget.

 

Ahhh... the carefree joys of youth.



#17 trotts1

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Posted 26 October 2014 - 08:58 AM

Hi All,

 

I visited Abo about 20 months ago specifically to inspect this telescope. It is in the same condition as shown in the earlier photos and maybe a little worse. Unfortunately, my visit was in January and it was well below Zero (deg C) and getting dark so I only had about 10 minutes. My guide was the duty Librarian the telescope is mounted on.

The telescope is definitely a 110mm  "A"  type semi APO lens  although I could not access its serial number.

Everything was still there and the instrument could be restored (at a high price) There is a lift (elevator) in the building so the heavy bits could be moved easily.

I finally managed to speak to "An Owner" - the big problem is that it belongs to a "Foundation" and so nobody individually ownes it and the foundation does not have any money to restore it  and consequently none of the directors of the foundation will make a decision to commit non-existant funds to do anything about it.

I have tried to regain contact over the last year, but no reply is ever forthcoming.

 

Sad really.

 

Bob Trotter

Western Australia



#18 Patrik Iver

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Posted 26 October 2014 - 12:04 PM

Hi Bob!

 

I was hoping you would notice this thread and join in,   :)  but I had never anticipated that you would have actually seen this particular instrument!

 

You did notice the serial number 10668 on the clock drive housing, in case that helps?

 

Regrettably, I believe you might be right in assuming the the foundation for Åbo Akademi probably would not spend funds on restoring this instrument (after all, what would they actually do with it? There is no astronomy depatment at the university since I can't say when, but since a long time). Also, the observatory location is in the middle of downtown, so the light pollution is bad and the local seeing "challenging", and I can't see an outreach deal working either...

 

The question is what to do with the telescope. I expect they might be persuaded to part with it, but likely only at "fair market value", whatever that might be. The foundation treasurer changed recently, so that might be a factor in communication breaking down - feel free to PM me if you think there is anything I can help you with, being local, an amateur astronomer, and an an alumini at the university in question (I might not be able to reply immediately, as I'm leaving on a business trip in just an hour).

 

Communication about matters like these can be difficult. Some years ago I spent a number of hours trying to persuade the university to arrange demonstrations of the time-ball on the old observatory building (my grandfather used to teach astronomical navigation there in the 1950's when it was a maritime academy), but we never got very far, as everyone is busy, and preoccupied with other day-to-day stuff.

 

I do hope the telescope is eventually saved.



#19 Perseus_m45

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Posted 26 October 2014 - 12:17 PM

I'll help you carry it down the stairs, as long as you take the heavy end of the mount pedestal.  :)

 

Seriously: Someone needs to rescue it. However, I'm pretty certain that once enyone shows an interest, the owner would immediately try to determine a market value, and I've a feeling it might not be insignificant, given how complete and relatively undamaged it appears to be, despite the dirtiness and corrosion.

 

If it is eventually rescued, I hope it would go somewhere where I'd have a chance to eventualle see, and try observing with, the resurrected telescope.

This telescope needs to be rescued period no matter who gets it .Does anyone know Tim Wetherill ??? I bet he would know someone or have an idea what to do with it?

mike h


Edited by Perseus_m45, 26 October 2014 - 12:26 PM.


#20 terraclarke

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Posted 26 October 2014 - 05:03 PM

I know Tim. He is in the process of moving to England but is still in Australia so I don't know how much he could do with regard to a project on the Continent, other than offer good ideas, wise council, and perhaps worthy introductions. To other resource people who are much closer (UK) and would have much refractor expertise are Richard Day, and Neil English.



#21 Napersky

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Posted 02 February 2017 - 05:21 PM

I would like to go get it. I have the 110 in good condition.



#22 deSitter

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Posted 02 February 2017 - 08:19 PM

While I can restore it, and would, if I could get my hands on the scope, even picking it up for free is not an option, when it sits over a thousand kilometres from home... I can't even afford to go pick it up. My car isn't even big enough.

 

Unless... This is a crazy as heck idea, but...

 

I could drive all the way in my tractor. I have a trailer for it (with brakes and all, road legal) that is more than big enough. If done during summer, I could camp in the open. The whole trip would take a month or more. 

 

Nah, too crazy. Could be fun, though. 

 

 

Clear skies!

Thomas, Denmark

This reminded me of Bach walking from near his hometown in Arnstadt to hang out with Buxtehude in Luebeck and to play the organ there.

 

-drl


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#23 starman876

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Posted 03 February 2017 - 08:25 AM

 

While I can restore it, and would, if I could get my hands on the scope, even picking it up for free is not an option, when it sits over a thousand kilometres from home... I can't even afford to go pick it up. My car isn't even big enough.

 

Unless... This is a crazy as heck idea, but...

 

I could drive all the way in my tractor. I have a trailer for it (with brakes and all, road legal) that is more than big enough. If done during summer, I could camp in the open. The whole trip would take a month or more. 

 

Nah, too crazy. Could be fun, though. 

 

 

Clear skies!

Thomas, Denmark

This reminded me of Bach walking from near his hometown in Arnstadt to hang out with Buxtehude in Luebeck and to play the organ there.

 

-drl

 

I did not relaize you were that old.



#24 deSitter

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Posted 03 February 2017 - 08:48 AM

It's just too sad for words that this thing is sitting there rotting away. At least they could remove the optics and clean and store them away. I often get the feeling that people are hostile to astronomy, even among academics.

 

-drl


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#25 deSitter

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Posted 03 February 2017 - 09:06 AM

Look at the focuser - there's a little window for an indicator on the graduated drawtube. When there is so much corrosion, how damaged is the underlying metal? Is that focuser salvageable?

 

-drl




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