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Time Capsule

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#1 Sky Muse

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Posted 30 September 2016 - 06:48 PM

The box was packed, not ideally and within another, but with bubble-wrap...

 

packing3.jpg

 

But it survived the trip nonetheless...

 

box.jpg

 

box3.jpg

 

box8.jpg

 

Should I open it, and are the ties original...

 

box7.jpg

 

https://i.kinja-img....mfgmvddjlzz.jpg

 

:lol:



#2 rockethead26

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Posted 30 September 2016 - 07:20 PM

But of course! It's no good in the box.

#3 Sky Muse

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Posted 30 September 2016 - 08:46 PM

box5.jpg

 

This kit was also shipped from the state of New York; department-store surplus I imagine, hidden away for all of these decades within a warehouse there?  I was immediately reminded of "Corondolet", and "The Treasury", department stores of my youth.

 

The seal was broken, and the "sarcophagus" opened...

 

box9.jpg

 

achromat.jpg

 

Note the discolouration of the silica within its packet.


Edited by Sky Muse, 30 September 2016 - 08:47 PM.


#4 Sky Muse

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Posted 01 October 2016 - 12:00 AM

And now for the details... :imawake:

 

The tripod-legs are rather ubiquitous of the age, and with a little rust here and there, but only in two or three spots like that illustrated.  A couple of dessicant packs could've been tossed into the box for good measure, but not with this economy model...

 

tripod legs.jpg

 

Still, the refractor was bagged with one, and most importantly.

 

Just above the focusser, on the backside of the optical-tube, the JTII seal, a.k.a. the "Good Housekeeping" seal of approval...

 

JTII seal.jpg

 

                           :whee:

 

I wonder what year that one is from... :scratchhead:

 

If I had to guess, I'd say that this kit is from 1975-1980.  I'd be astounded if it was from before then.

 

The yoke-head isn't bad, but it isn't what I'd call special...

 

yoke-head.jpg

 

The bagged hardware was also included, but I didn't photograph it. :flash:

 

Disappointingly, the body of the focusser is of plastic, as are all the knobs and the fixed-eyepiece...

 

focusser.jpg

 

The specs...

 

specs label.jpg

 

Yep, it's a Towa.  The label has a nice raised texture, as though it was stamped.

 

Lastly, but by no means least, the doublet-objective...

 

doublet-objective3.jpg

 

...and yet a second f/6.5-ish doublet with which to play.  I can't wait to compare this one with that of the Mayflower 806 that I recently acquired.

 

Thank you for looking.

 

Incidentally, there's one left... http://www.ebay.com/...c0AAOSwNyFWg0S6


Edited by Sky Muse, 01 October 2016 - 01:09 AM.


#5 Bomber Bob

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Posted 01 October 2016 - 08:30 AM

Based on Stephen's research, your 309 is no older than 1978, but ~40 years is definitely vintage!

 

The plastic parts look well-made.  My much older (and more expensive!) Goto 452 has plastic lens cell & focuser castings, but these are as precisely made their metal counterparts.  The Towa lens should be a good performer - and that's the heart of the matter.


Edited by Bomber Bob, 01 October 2016 - 08:33 AM.


#6 Terra Nova

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Posted 01 October 2016 - 11:02 AM

Nothing like that old new telescope smell (or that new old telescope smell?)! Very cool. I bet you relived a hour of your youth opening that! ;) 



#7 Bonco

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Posted 01 October 2016 - 03:15 PM

Nice find!

A telescope exactly like that with the sliding barlow was a Christmas present to me in about 1958. Loved looking at the moon, Pleiades, and Saturn. Optically nothing to brag about but got me started in the hobby.

Bill 



#8 starman876

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Posted 01 October 2016 - 07:22 PM

it is that variable power eyepiece that makes that scope so horrible.  I have seen so many with that eyepiece and after removing it and making some modifications the objective was not that bad, but not great. 



#9 Sky Muse

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Posted 01 October 2016 - 07:58 PM

"...Goto 452 has plastic lens cell & focuser castings..."

 

Bob, would the "plastic" of that time, its formulation, been more akin to Bakelite, albeit stronger I would think; perhaps a formulation far more exotic.

 

1978, eh?  That sounds about right.  I was 14 at the time.  In so far as the Milben's age, aside from the suspicious, anachronistic appearance of the box, there was this clue, too...

 

http://www.ebay.com/...9-/272158042155

 

...same model number, yet just a tad newer in appearance.

 

Other clues in researching the JTII labels also played a part, although I saw nothing really definitive that would've pointed to its exact age, give or take a year or two.     

 

I suspected that before the other Milben arrived that it was a bit older, but not by much.  Still, I wouldn't have minded the yellow optical-tube of the one listed above.  I wonder if it was a Tanzutsu.  Its objective cell and dew-shield looked to be of plastic in addition.

 

"Based on Stephen's research..."

 

Do you have a link to that?

 

 

"I bet you relived a hour of your youth opening that! ;) "

 

Terra, you know me all too well.  It was a portion of my birthday presents last month, along with the Mayflower 806, and the Sears 50mm f/12.

 

From the dew-shield to the focusser, the optical-tube of this slightly-older Milben is of metal(aluminum).  I got it for parts, if needed, and for the Mayflower.  It will also be interesting to compare the quality of the objectives.  I wonder which one will be the winner.

 

 

"Nice find!"

 

Bill, thanks!  The "zoom" assemblies of the Milben and the older Mayflower are very similar, with parts from the Milben to be scavenged if necessary, and able, and for the other...

 

comparison.jpg



#10 Chuck Hards

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Posted 05 October 2016 - 04:26 PM

Nice.

 

Here's my own "Time Capsule" Milben, a 50mm clone of the Tasco 6TE.  No erector, a true astronomical telescope.  Towa product and very good imagery.  Mine looks unused.  LINK



#11 paulymo

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Posted 05 October 2016 - 06:13 PM

Re: the JTII stickers--here's the best article here I could find on the timeframes when I was researching my Sears finds, according to it yours is early 80's if my eyes are seeing the correct color.  But JW and Stephen know their stuff so I'm looking forward to seeing a link to Stephen's research.  Maybe the timeframes for the types of stickers differs for scopes than it was for eyepieces?

 

Neat scope either way!

 

Pauly


Edited by paulymo, 05 October 2016 - 06:13 PM.


#12 Bomber Bob

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Posted 05 October 2016 - 09:35 PM

#9 - "Bob, would the "plastic" of that time, its formulation, been more akin to Bakelite, albeit stronger I would think; perhaps a formulation far more exotic."

 

Probably Bakelite.  My point was the 452 is/was high dollar, yet these two critical parts aren't machined brass or aluminum.  The corrector retaining ring on my 1958 Questar is Styrene.  I've been told this layered synthetic was used to show how advanced & futuristic the Q was almost 60 years ago...



#13 ftwskies

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Posted 07 October 2016 - 11:11 AM

Dipping my toes into the shallow end of the pool, here...  Guess who got the last one (and joined the 'club')?  :grin:

 

Mine arrived yesterday.  It's identical to Alan's, so I won't spam you all with pictures.  I did include one shot below of the JTII sticker under natural ("daylight") LED lighting to clarify the colors.  I'd call it a pukey greenish tan with writing in the gray/purple/whatzit range.  :lol:

 

Took it out right away for first light.  I was a little worried about the height of the tripod, which even when fully extended brings the yoke to just beneath my chest.  This being a straight-thru viewer, and all.  But I figured out that if I shorten the legs to their fully retracted position, I can set the whole rig up on top of my mailbox and it was the perfect height for viewing the Moon!  :cool:  The view was pretty good; albeit the Moon was veiled by a layer of high-level schmutz since a cold front was moving in.

 

I knew when I snagged it that this wouldn't be my ultimate vinty, but at a price like this, I got nothin' to lose.  Should be a fun little toy.  Nicer than the Focal I had as a kid, fer sher.

 

I am going to be doing a full tear-down at some point, and tinkering with it as much as I can without doing anything irreversible, so if there's a specific feature or component you want pictures of, lemme know and I'll try to accommodate.

 

gallery_240021_6638_94229.jpg  

 

gallery_240021_6638_43934.jpg



#14 twhite

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Posted 07 October 2016 - 12:27 PM

I know where another one of these is, in similar condition in the box.  If anyone has interest, PM me.



#15 Bomber Bob

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Posted 07 October 2016 - 12:42 PM

I think Towa brought more people into our hobby than any other maker with decent scopes at attainable prices.  Yes, with the cheapest 60mm refractor models you got junk eyepieces & wobbly mounts, but they sold a lot of 3" & 4.5" reflectors, too.  I bought and tested one of these 3" reflectors wearing Kmart's Focal brand.  With clean optics, proper collimation, and quality eyepieces, it exceeded my expectations.

 

I started out in our hobby with a 40mm click zoomer like these Milbens.  Wouldn't show a lot, but what I did see got me fired up on seeing more - and I've been hooked for 47 years.



#16 ftwskies

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Posted 07 October 2016 - 02:02 PM

Hey, I just made a really neat discovery about my Milben!

 

I threaded off the built-in eyepiece, and discovered that there's a second element in a barrel slipped into the tube behind it.  I slipped out that element, and I was able to thread on my 40mm Meade MA eyepiece!  :shocked:  I tried it out and it does come to focus...  The 9mm fits, too, but focus... not so much.

 

gallery_240021_6638_90247.jpg

 

...which gave me an idea.  If some .965 eyepieces can thread onto the tube, then maybe -- just maybe -- I could use a .965 diagonal, too! 

 

Well, it turns out that the male tube on my .965 diagonal doesn't have threads inside, but it DOES slip neatly over the drawtube! 

 

gallery_240021_6638_50525.jpg

 

Wow, this thing might be useful for astronomy after all!

 

One last thing I tried:  I removed the rear cell and unscrewed the (barlow?) lens from the front end of the drawtube.  Does anybody know how this should effect the view using regular eyepieces?  I guess what I'm saying is that I know I just did SOMETHING optically, but I'm not sure WHAT, exactly...  Anybody care to enlighten me?  :grin:


Edited by ftwskies, 07 October 2016 - 02:03 PM.


#17 Stargoat

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Posted 07 October 2016 - 03:12 PM

Mine arrived yesterday.  It's identical to Alan's, so I won't spam you all with pictures.  I did include one shot below of the JTII sticker under natural ("daylight") LED lighting to clarify the colors.  I'd call it a pukey greenish tan with writing in the gray/purple/whatzit range.  :lol:


 

 

gallery_240021_6638_43934.jpg

 

 

Just a quick note on the round JTII passed stickers.

 

I've just simplified my description of the color calling these stickers yellow. Off hand I've seen them range from more yellow looking to more of a greenish yellow hue which is called "Chartreuse" or "Pear". Some are darker than others.

 

Here is a color chart of yellow green colors.

 

My guestimation for the various hues are possibly either age or exposure to UV or tobacco smoke etc. Even different batches that have different hues is another possibility.

 

One would have to look at all the different numbers that are assigned to the stickers to see if certain numbers or ranges of numbers are a particular hue to see if the color was changed over time. This could be possible, but a would be quite a challenge to go thru the archives to see if there is merit to the different hues.

 

Lighting conditions greatly affect the color. As you point out, a natural daylight source is needed to confirm.

 

The number 1 is found on Celestron finders for sure. These are confirmed late 70s models. Tasco 9VR spotting scopes date 1983 and they are found with number 12 yellowish stickers. But there are numbers in low 100's...so it not a new number to represent particular year.

 

Looking at sale catalogs such a Tasco's 1978 one and comparing model listed and the details of the models match up with Tasco scopes bearing the round yellowish JTII tags. Same for many other brands as well.  As we know sales catalogs in many cases are lagging behind the models that are already on the sales floor.

 

Again off top of my head I know of a sales receipted Mayflower 816 from April 1977 which has the silver oval sticker. Tasco's 7800 Bino-Camera is a 1977 model and have dated boxes and manuals of 1977. These have the silver oval stickers as well.

 

Again my best estimation is that I believe in later half of 1977 or by early 1978 is when the round yellowish sticker started being used. Maybe this can be narrowed down looking at dates for the Celestron scopes from the 1977/78 time frame.

 

Here are couple of other number round yellow sticker for reference. Varioius color ranges with same number in some examples.

 

 

 

Attached Thumbnails

  • 3628748-SYWfocsmallDSCN8324.jpg
  • Bushnell Competitor 20X Spotting Scope 20s40  JTII Round  Yellow Passed 3 Sticker.jpg
  • Celestron C8 Orange Tube JTII Round No 1 PASSED sticker.jpg
  • Focal 20-20-64_15x-45x41mmZoom Telescope Japan Diamond Z_JTII Round Yellow Passed No 4.jpg
  • Optica b_c 30mm Kellner.jpg
  • Towa 8x50 Right Angle Finder 70s Vintage_.jpg
  • Yellow Round Passed JTII Sticker_No 8_.jpg
  • Optica b_c_Eyepiece.jpg


#18 Chuck Hards

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Posted 08 October 2016 - 08:55 AM

I wonder if the number is indicative of a particular inspector, or perhaps prefecture office responsible for issuance?



#19 ftwskies

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Posted 08 October 2016 - 08:15 PM

Well, I can confirm that the Milben can be used as a "serious" astro scope!  I took mine out tonight and was able to go to -- uh, well, come to think of it, I don't know what power I was at because I haven't seen a published focal length spec for it!  The user pamphlet says the scope is 24-3/4" long, so I'm guessing 600mm?  If so then I took it up to 80X on the Moon with a shorty-barlowed Expanse 15mm and the view was only a little soft - if the mount were more rigid I could probably have cleaned it up even more with some finer focusing.  I stayed at 40X on Mars (tiny!) and Saturn; saw Cassini without a problem, though the view was dim.  Haven't been able to star test yet because the diagonal slips over the drawtube loosely and I haven't devised a way to fix it more firmly yet, so for now I'm limited in altitude. I saw a bit of color, but it didn't bother me; since I'm not a fractor guy I couldn't tell you whether it was a lot or a little.



#20 ftwskies

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Posted 08 October 2016 - 08:18 PM

I wonder if the number is indicative of a particular inspector, or perhaps prefecture office responsible for issuance?

I'm going to guess it's the inspector.  I work in manufacturing myself and I would say that without traceability to which inspector passed the scope the label is pretty much useless. I've never seen a QA stamp that didn't include initials or a number linked to a specific inspector.



#21 Sky Muse

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Posted 09 October 2016 - 08:35 AM

Thanks everyone for your input!  Most enlightening!

 

"Here's my own "Time Capsule" Milben, a 50mm clone of the Tasco 6TE."

 

Chuck, my Sears 6340 is probably yet another variant...

 

7a.jpg

 

It also appears little used, however the doublet had been flipped in the past, and possibly the crown element in addition.  If the views therewith had caused its sale, then so much the better.

 

 

Ftwskies, thank you for the first light report, and the experiments.  I have the .965" diagonal and barlow from my very first telescope, a Sears(Towa, expectedly) 60mm f/11, and from the very early '70s.  If you have a barlow like this one...

 

Sears barlow.jpg

 

...then you can remove the chromed portion and replace the nosepiece of the diagonal with it, and the diagonal will then screw onto the Milben's drawtube, and as I have just done.  The threads, however, are not at the front, but at the back; no matter, really, since a .965" nosepiece cannot enter the body of the focusser.

 

"I removed the rear cell and unscrewed the (barlow?) lens from the front end of the drawtube."

 

There's another lens within the drawtube assembly.  I call it the "zoom" singlet, and it's located here...

 

comparison2.jpg

 

You can remove it, but do so carefully and note its front/back orientation for its reinstallation.

 

EDIT: Incidentally, the doublet, as originally figured, may be around f/6.5(400mm f/l), and as near that of the very similar Mayflower 806 that I had also acquired last month...

 

kit2b.jpg

 

 

Stephen, thank you for the information, and I do admire that Yosco AE-72 to no end.

 

 

Alas, I've yet to assemble my own, as I'm currently preoccupied with urgent home repairs; but I do find the time for a bit of fun now and then.


Edited by Sky Muse, 09 October 2016 - 08:48 AM.


#22 deSitter

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Posted 04 January 2017 - 10:03 PM

The optical setup of these scopes is to combine an inversion pair of singlets (see Sam Brown) with a simple eyepiece. They give an upright image. By changing the relative layout one gets zoom magnification. In order to have decent color correction one has a very narrow field of view. The color correction would be considered unacceptable by anyone who had used even the most rudimentary astronomical scope. By shortening the tube it would be possible to remove the unnecessary inversion/zoom lenses and use it as a finder if fitted with a proper eyepiece.

 

I own three of these NIB from old stock, bought for a song because I wanted the tripod legs, which are wooden and very nice. I don't know how good the objective is, but being Towa, probably OK. It's not cemented. The tube, cell and dewshield are typical of a 60mm of the time.

 

-drl




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