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The scent of Bakelite and profound memories

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#1 Daniel Mounsey

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Posted 30 January 2017 - 10:00 PM

Someone once said that the ones sense of smell provokes the most profound memories. I'm not sure if this is true, but it evokes profound memories to me. My first memory of astronomy was a photo my older brother had of the horsehead nebula on his wall sometime in the 70's. He had also constructed a 6" F8 Coulter Newtonian kit with my uncle. One night, years later, I found it collecting dust in my parents garage. I think I must have been about 11 years old and I didn't even know what I didn't know about astronomy. It had two lense and one said 25K and the other said 12K. I had no idea what that meant. I noticed the telescopes didn't have any kind of tripod or finder scope, so I asked my parents if I could drag one of the couches out front so I could lean it on to aim it at something. I just happened to put the 25K eyepiece in. I noticed the old focuser had a spring loaded bearing in it and I had to rotate the focuser to change the focus. 

 

When I removed the old shower cap, out came this incredible fragrance and it had such a profound impact on my memory, all these thoughts of that picture on my brothers wall years prior, were so vivid to me. By that time I had also seen pictures of the 48" and 200" Palomar scope in an old encyclopedia book my brother had. I just loved those pictures and had dreams of one day looking through that scope. That evening, I noticed a bright star towards the south right out front of my parents house. So, for twenty minutes, I struggled in vain, gunsighting behind the tube, leaned an the old couch. It was near impossible to find the star, then suddenly I saw something fuzzy and realized it must be out of focus. When I finally focused what I was seeing, I dropped my jaw in disbelief.....OMG! That's Saturn!!!!... I ran into the front door, yelling mom!!! dad!!!! Come out here, you gotta see this!!! After struggling to keep it centered, not to lose it, I finally got the hang of the movement, then ran next door, banging on two neighbors front doors. In the end, it changed my life forever, but the smell of that Bakelite tube evokes such profound images and memories. I dearly miss that telescope and have no idea who I sold it too and it really saddens me.  :(


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#2 petert913

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Posted 30 January 2017 - 10:12 PM

If I ever opened an old Tasco wooden refractor case.....I would be 13 yrs old again. 


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#3 terraclarke

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Posted 30 January 2017 - 10:13 PM

To me, the smell of luan always evokes what my mind tells me is that 'new telescope smell'!


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#4 Bomber Bob

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Posted 30 January 2017 - 10:16 PM

I actually like the smell of the flat black paint inside these old scopes -- gives them character -- hope that doesn't count as huffing.


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#5 rguasto

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Posted 30 January 2017 - 10:22 PM

My 1959 Dynascope still has its bakelite odor

 

-Rob


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#6 deSitter

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Posted 30 January 2017 - 10:25 PM

Someone once said that the ones sense of smell provokes the most profound memories. I'm not sure if this is true, but it evokes profound memories to me. My first memory of astronomy was a photo my older brother had of the horsehead nebula on his wall sometime in the 70's. He had also constructed a 6" F8 Coulter Newtonian kit with my uncle. One night, years later, I found it collecting dust in my parents garage. I think I must have been about 11 years old and I didn't even know what I didn't know about astronomy. It had two lense and one said 25K and the other said 12K. I had no idea what that meant. I noticed the telescopes didn't have any kind of tripod or finder scope, so I asked my parents if I could drag one of the couches out front so I could lean it on to aim it at something. I just happened to put the 25K eyepiece in. I noticed the old focuser had a spring loaded bearing in it and I had to rotate the focuser to change the focus. 

 

When I removed the old shower cap, out came this incredible fragrance and it had such a profound impact on my memory, all these thoughts of that picture on my brothers wall years prior, were so vivid to me. By that time I had also seen pictures of the 48" and 200" Palomar scope in an old encyclopedia book my brother had. I just loved those pictures and had dreams of one day looking through that scope. That evening, I noticed a bright star towards the south right out front of my parents house. So, for twenty minutes, I struggled in vain, gunsighting behind the tube, leaned an the old couch. It was near impossible to find the star, then suddenly I saw something fuzzy and realized it must be out of focus. When I finally focused what I was seeing, I dropped my jaw in disbelief.....OMG! That's Saturn!!!!... I ran into the front door, yelling mom!!! dad!!!! Come out here, you gotta see this!!! After struggling to keep it centered, not to lose it, I finally got the hang of the movement, then ran next door, banging on two neighbors front doors. In the end, it changed my life forever, but the smell of that Bakelite tube evokes such profound images and memories. I dearly miss that telescope and have no idea who I sold it too and it really saddens me.  :(

Funny, fluorescent light always reminds me of telescopes. My friend Tommy's Dad had a 114mm reflector telescope in his basement. Somehow I always associate fluorescent light with the look of that white telescope in Tommy's basement. Any trip to any basement that is lighted with fluorescent tubes causes me to think of telescopes.

 

-drl


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#7 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 30 January 2017 - 10:33 PM

The RV-6s I have owned and the Meade 12.5 inch RG had that Bakelite fragrance. 

 

By the way,  Daniel's wife wears an expensive perfume,  Chanel No. 5-BL.. 

 

Jon


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#8 AUricle

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Posted 30 January 2017 - 10:52 PM

 

Someone once said that the ones sense of smell provokes the most profound memories. I'm not sure if this is true, but it evokes profound memories to me. My first memory of astronomy was a photo my older brother had of the horsehead nebula on his wall sometime in the 70's. He had also constructed a 6" F8 Coulter Newtonian kit with my uncle. One night, years later, I found it collecting dust in my parents garage. I think I must have been about 11 years old and I didn't even know what I didn't know about astronomy. It had two lense and one said 25K and the other said 12K. I had no idea what that meant. I noticed the telescopes didn't have any kind of tripod or finder scope, so I asked my parents if I could drag one of the couches out front so I could lean it on to aim it at something. I just happened to put the 25K eyepiece in. I noticed the old focuser had a spring loaded bearing in it and I had to rotate the focuser to change the focus. 

 

When I removed the old shower cap, out came this incredible fragrance and it had such a profound impact on my memory, all these thoughts of that picture on my brothers wall years prior, were so vivid to me. By that time I had also seen pictures of the 48" and 200" Palomar scope in an old encyclopedia book my brother had. I just loved those pictures and had dreams of one day looking through that scope. That evening, I noticed a bright star towards the south right out front of my parents house. So, for twenty minutes, I struggled in vain, gunsighting behind the tube, leaned an the old couch. It was near impossible to find the star, then suddenly I saw something fuzzy and realized it must be out of focus. When I finally focused what I was seeing, I dropped my jaw in disbelief.....OMG! That's Saturn!!!!... I ran into the front door, yelling mom!!! dad!!!! Come out here, you gotta see this!!! After struggling to keep it centered, not to lose it, I finally got the hang of the movement, then ran next door, banging on two neighbors front doors. In the end, it changed my life forever, but the smell of that Bakelite tube evokes such profound images and memories. I dearly miss that telescope and have no idea who I sold it too and it really saddens me.  :(

Funny, fluorescent light always reminds me of telescopes. My friend Tommy's Dad had a 114mm reflector telescope in his basement. Somehow I always associate fluorescent light with the look of that white telescope in Tommy's basement. Any trip to any basement that is lighted with fluorescent tubes causes me to think of telescopes.

 

-drl

 

drl,

That's funny! And you guys are right. I know that Bakelite smell well. And I'll give ya one on fluorescent tubes too. When I was a kid, my next door neighbors dad was an amateur photographer and had his own little darkroom in the basement. We'd steal away in there and turn on the overhead fixture and on an old bookshelf mounted to the wall was his ever growing collection of Playboy magazines. 

Did a LOT of "learnin'" in the glow of those tubes.......LOL! Still remember it anytime I walk into a room with those fixtures


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#9 TOM KIEHL

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Posted 30 January 2017 - 11:32 PM

I actually like the smell of the flat black paint inside these old scopes -- gives them character -- hope that doesn't count as huffing.

 

https://www.youtube....h?v=MfvhbdYKL28


Edited by TOM KIEHL, 31 January 2017 - 12:04 AM.

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#10 kansas skies

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Posted 31 January 2017 - 12:06 AM

Although it has nothing to do with smell, I had to chuckle at the OP's couch-as-a-mount scenario. I thought I was the only one that did things like that. Just last summer, I bought a 12" Meade SCT OTA, and once it was delivered, I found I had no way to use it. My intention was to mount it on my older Vixen mount, but that would involve ordering a number of bits and pieces, along with a little machine-work to get it there. Curiosity got the better of me, so I proceeded to drag a nice overstuffed chair into the backyard (much to the wife's dismay) and set about trying to point the beast at Saturn. I ended up using books and magazines under the legs for altitude adjustment and somehow managed to shift the whole mess in azimuth enough to center the planet. That was when I discovered Saturn was nothing but a funky yellow smudge. It seemed the trip half-way across America took its toll on the poor scope.

 

Not one to be discouaged, the next day I set the whole mess up on my front porch and proceeded to collimate on an insulator reflection a couple of blocks away. This took awhile since the scope was so far out. Still, I got it done and then proceeded to set everything up again in my backyard, once again trying for Saturn just prior to sunset. I really must have looked like a complete idiot to the neighbors, but I have to say that I got one of the best views of Saturn I've ever experienced.

 

Bill

 

btw - The scope has since been properly mounted...


Edited by kansas skies, 31 January 2017 - 12:07 AM.


#11 AstroPhys

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Posted 31 January 2017 - 12:44 AM

While I can certainly appreciate Bakelite smell, it's the smell of excelsior (wood shavings in a paper bag used as packing material before Styrofoam or  popples were invented) that does it for me. Bakelite takes me to train transformers.


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#12 Dan /schechter

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Posted 31 January 2017 - 01:14 AM

While I can certainly appreciate Bakelite smell, it's the smell of excelsior (wood shavings in a paper bag used as packing material before Styrofoam or  popples were invented) that does it for me. Bakelite takes me to train transformers.

For me its the distinctive smell that comes from my Astro-Physics telescope case whenever I open it up.

 

Cheers,

Dan


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#13 Daniel Mounsey

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Posted 31 January 2017 - 01:19 AM

My 1959 Dynascope still has its bakelite odor

 

-Rob

 

I was just checking out those old Dynascope ads. So classic!



#14 Tarzanrock

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Posted 31 January 2017 - 01:23 AM

 

While I can certainly appreciate Bakelite smell, it's the smell of excelsior (wood shavings in a paper bag used as packing material before Styrofoam or  popples were invented) that does it for me. Bakelite takes me to train transformers.

For me its the distinctive smell that comes from my Astro-Physics telescope case whenever I open it up.

 

Cheers,

Dan

 

Well, Dan, for me it's that ever so slight scent of lubricating grease on your Alvan Clark up at Mt. Pinos or am I confusing it with Steve's Goto?  Whatever that scent was or from whereosever it came -- it smelled a whole lot like outstanding observing.

Bill


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#15 Daniel Mounsey

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Posted 31 January 2017 - 01:24 AM

 

Someone once said that the ones sense of smell provokes the most profound memories. I'm not sure if this is true, but it evokes profound memories to me. My first memory of astronomy was a photo my older brother had of the horsehead nebula on his wall sometime in the 70's. He had also constructed a 6" F8 Coulter Newtonian kit with my uncle. One night, years later, I found it collecting dust in my parents garage. I think I must have been about 11 years old and I didn't even know what I didn't know about astronomy. It had two lense and one said 25K and the other said 12K. I had no idea what that meant. I noticed the telescopes didn't have any kind of tripod or finder scope, so I asked my parents if I could drag one of the couches out front so I could lean it on to aim it at something. I just happened to put the 25K eyepiece in. I noticed the old focuser had a spring loaded bearing in it and I had to rotate the focuser to change the focus. 

 

When I removed the old shower cap, out came this incredible fragrance and it had such a profound impact on my memory, all these thoughts of that picture on my brothers wall years prior, were so vivid to me. By that time I had also seen pictures of the 48" and 200" Palomar scope in an old encyclopedia book my brother had. I just loved those pictures and had dreams of one day looking through that scope. That evening, I noticed a bright star towards the south right out front of my parents house. So, for twenty minutes, I struggled in vain, gunsighting behind the tube, leaned an the old couch. It was near impossible to find the star, then suddenly I saw something fuzzy and realized it must be out of focus. When I finally focused what I was seeing, I dropped my jaw in disbelief.....OMG! That's Saturn!!!!... I ran into the front door, yelling mom!!! dad!!!! Come out here, you gotta see this!!! After struggling to keep it centered, not to lose it, I finally got the hang of the movement, then ran next door, banging on two neighbors front doors. In the end, it changed my life forever, but the smell of that Bakelite tube evokes such profound images and memories. I dearly miss that telescope and have no idea who I sold it too and it really saddens me.  :(

Funny, fluorescent light always reminds me of telescopes. My friend Tommy's Dad had a 114mm reflector telescope in his basement. Somehow I always associate fluorescent light with the look of that white telescope in Tommy's basement. Any trip to any basement that is lighted with fluorescent tubes causes me to think of telescopes.

 

-drl

 

Wow, that's a very unique reminder of telescopes. Never heard anything like that.



#16 Tarzanrock

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Posted 31 January 2017 - 01:26 AM

Fluorescent light always reminds me of Brunswick pool tables.


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#17 rolo

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Posted 31 January 2017 - 03:06 AM

Nothing like cracking open a vintage Questar 3.5 Case and getting a whiff of that leather and scope scent combined, Also, the smell of my 57 Dynascope or the 12.5" Cave! Even the smell of a camera case with old Nikon equipment inside. 


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#18 CHASLX200

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Posted 31 January 2017 - 06:09 AM

Nothing like cracking open a vintage Questar 3.5 Case and getting a whiff of that leather and scope scent combined, Also, the smell of my 57 Dynascope or the 12.5" Cave! Even the smell of a camera case with old Nikon equipment inside. 

Should have tried that with the wood cases my mint never used around 1960 4" Unitron was in.  I got it in 1986 and as soon as i would open up the OTA case your eyes and nose would burn.  I never could get that out of the cases. It was very strong.



#19 Daniel Mounsey

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Posted 31 January 2017 - 08:52 AM

Nothing like cracking open a vintage Questar 3.5 Case and getting a whiff of that leather and scope scent combined, Also, the smell of my 57 Dynascope or the 12.5" Cave! Even the smell of a camera case with old Nikon equipment inside. 

 

We were just talking about the Questar case the other day!


Edited by Daniel Mounsey, 01 February 2017 - 12:11 AM.

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#20 Tarzanrock

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Posted 31 January 2017 - 11:46 AM

 

Nothing like cracking open a vintage Questar 3.5 Case and getting a whiff of that leather and scope scent combined, Also, the smell of my 57 Dynascope or the 12.5" Cave! Even the smell of a camera case with old Nikon equipment inside. 

 

We were just talking about the QUestar case the other day!

 

That had to be a rather large case if it was the Questar 12.



#21 SteveNH

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Posted 31 January 2017 - 01:47 PM

When I pop open the wood case for my Royal Astro 60mm f/20, it still has that same sweet Japanese smell of "new telescope" that it had back when I was an adolescent, vacationing in Japan with my family in 1964. I could barely contain my excitement when it was delivered to my cousin's house where we were staying. I promptly opened it up and started unwrapping its packaging, setting it up in an upstairs room, taking care that the tripod leg pins wouldn't puncture their clean, slick tatami floor (it didn't). I'm surprised and impressed that the smell has lasted this long, though it's gotten quite a bit weaker these days. It still gives me instant flashbacks of that whole scene.

 

Steve


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#22 semiosteve

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Posted 31 January 2017 - 04:41 PM

Bakelite?

 

I once wrote a prose poem that started off referencing bakelite. Sort of a William Burroughs meets JG Ballard piece

 

The actual substance  was so "everyday" yet also somehow weird.

 

Can't believe anyone even remembers the stuff....I love this forum!

 

sv


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#23 rolo

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Posted 31 January 2017 - 04:42 PM

 

 

Nothing like cracking open a vintage Questar 3.5 Case and getting a whiff of that leather and scope scent combined, Also, the smell of my 57 Dynascope or the 12.5" Cave! Even the smell of a camera case with old Nikon equipment inside. 

 

We were just talking about the QUestar case the other day!

 

That had to be a rather large case if it was the Questar 12.

 

I'll be doing a shoot out with my FS152 vs a Questar 7 this spring. That should be a good one with doublepass test and all!


Edited by rolo, 01 February 2017 - 12:16 AM.

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#24 Tarzanrock

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Posted 31 January 2017 - 05:27 PM

 

 

 

Nothing like cracking open a vintage Questar 3.5 Case and getting a whiff of that leather and scope scent combined, Also, the smell of my 57 Dynascope or the 12.5" Cave! Even the smell of a camera case with old Nikon equipment inside. 

 

We were just talking about the QUestar case the other day!

 

That had to be a rather large case if it was the Questar 12.

 

I'll be doing a shoot out with my FS152 vs a Questar 7 this spring. That should be a good one with doablepass test and all!

 

This will be interesting.  I've been thinking about that Seven for a while now especially since the Twelve is likely unobtainable.


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#25 Tarzanrock

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Posted 31 January 2017 - 05:36 PM

     Of course, that "whiff of that leather" scent can likely be replenished.  Apparently, it's merely a matter of extensive moisturization with the proper products.

http://www.coach.com...es-product-care


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