I wonder how many active Moonwatch teams used imported commercial "satellite" scopes?
Teams had to purchase their own telescopes, with most opting for domestic designs, such as the Edmund product. Many were home-made, from plans published in magazines such as Popular Science & Popular Mechanics, and those closely resembled the Edmund scope- some even citing Edmund as a source for the optics. Teams would secure local sponsorship in order to pay for their equipment.
Only the Apogee scopes were supplied by the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, and they were given only to a few select teams that were consistently supplying the best data and in a location favored by Whipple's staff.
Once set-up, a Moonwatch scope was not required to change aim. Each member of the team was focused on overlapping parts of the sky, varying in elevation and spaced along the meridian. This helped secure the transiting satellite's elevation, as well as it's transit time.
I have a feeling that the vast majority of commercial Japanese-made scopes were not used by actual Moonwatch teams, but sold to members of the general public who were probably under the impression that a specialized telescope would provide a better view of satellites. Equatorial motions were simply not ever used or needed for Moonwatch data takers.
Also, the number of actual Moonwatch team members, even during the program's entire lifetime, was probably never much over one thousand and usually far fewer, whereas the number of commercial "satellite" scopes produced surely was in the tens of thousands, altogether.
These commercial scopes are a memento of a special time in the world's history, and our nation's history, at the very dawn of the space age, and reflect an interest in science by the general public that doesn't seem to be even close to the same level today.
BTW, there was a similar satellite-tracking program in Soviet Russia at the time, that bore a very strong resemblance to the US program. Whipple communicated with his Soviet counterparts in the time leading up to 1957 (the International Geophysical Year), and there is speculation that the Russians patterned their program after Moonwatch, except that their scopes were entirely government made and supplied, in substantially smaller numbers than in the US. I'm trying to imagine sitting there in the early morning of a Moscow winter in late 1957, eyeball frozen to the eyepiece!
A Soviet satellite scope would be a real treasure in a classic scope collection today.