I hope no one strongly objects to my rebooting an old thread, but to me it seemed preferable to append my contribution here rather than start a new thread -- and thereby have Spacek-related information on CN more widely scattered than if I add the following here:
I grew up in Reading, PA, about a 45min drive from Pottstown. I first met Mr. Michael Spacek when I was an 8th or 9th grader (probably in 1974 or 1975), after completing (with signficant help from both my father and my maternal grandfather) the grinding and polishing of a 6-inch f/8 parabolic mirror -- a kit from Edmund Scientific -- in my grandfather's basement. My dad and I were referred to him by someone in my local astronomy club (the Berks County Amateur Astronomical Society, or BCAAS) upon inquiring where we could have the mirror aluminized, which indeed Mr. Spacek was able to accomplish in his shop's evaporating chamber for nominal fee. (Around the time I graduated high school, I sold that telescope and its home-made, turn-on-threads pipe GEM, having completed a larger 8-inch f/12 reflecting telescope project  prompted by coming across that larger primary mirror for sale, already accurately ground, polished to a paraboloid figure, and coated).
Fast-forward to the summer of 1980 following my college sophomore year at Penn State University (majoring in astronomy & physics, and -- still an 'ATM' at heart -- keenly interested in optics and astronomical instruments), when I managed to swing my first 'dream job' working as Mr. Spacek's assistant in his one-man basement shop (Spacek Instrument Company) that summer. As I recall, my hourly pay wasn't much above minimum wage, but I was tremendously grateful for the learning experience. For quite a number of years prior, Spacek Instruments had a large contract from Spitz, Inc., who manufactured and sold planetarium projectors . Their smaller units created stars via pinholes in a metal sphere, with the pinhole diameters increased for stars having brighter magnitudes. But this technique brokedown for the brightest stars, since a hole with the necessary diameter to represent faithfully these stars' greater brightnesses would appear as visible 'disk' (i.e., no longer a star-like dot in the sky) to the planetarium audience. So for the brighter stars, the Spitz Projectors had to employ small lenses to project onto the dome a focused image of the arc-light source inside the projector sphere. Spacek had the contract to supply Spitz with the necessary lenses: small in diameter, long in focal length, and -- most critically -- having the optical axis of each lens centered and aligned with the lens O.D. to a high degree of accuracy, such that the bright star images projected by these lenses would appear in the correct locations relative to each constellation's fainter stars (those projected through the projector's pinholes). Mr. Spacek had developed a proprietary technique for achieving the necessary optical centration accuracy during the machine grinding and polishing of the small lens elements (many at a time), such that during the final quality inspection (when we mounted them one-by-one in a small lens holder tube that was then rotated in V-blocks on the optical bench to check that the image seen on a distant wall of the shop remained stationary, instead of rotating in a circle), very few had to be rejected for failing to meet specification.
Hence much of my time that summer was spent tending to the machine grinding and polishing of these small lens elements, and assisting in their quality-control testing. But often during breaks, Mr. Spacek would discuss and/or show me some side project of his  over at the roll-off-roof observatory located next to his house and basement shop. I recall one such fascination of his that summer was a seismometer he'd recently built based on concepts presented in a particular "The Amateur Scientist" column, which was a monthly feature in Scientific American (ref. September 1975, pg. 182) that he followed with great interest. Installed on the concrete slab ground-floor of his observatory (away from the house and shop), his home-made seismometer was sensitive enough to detect the vibrations of trucks going by on the road in front of his 2-acre property.
* * * *
The Mercury is still in business. It should be possible to retrieve that article from 10/24/1967.
I have collected PDFs of this 1967 Pottstown PA local newspaper profile of Michael Spacek, as well as a PDF of the 2017 newsletter reprint on the 40th anniversary since (in 1977) the Lehigh Valley Amateur Astronomical Society (LVAAS) bestowed upon Michael Spacek an honorary lifetime membership in recognition of his contributions to their organization (see pages 13 - 17). Anyone who might be interested in these articles profiling Mr. Spacek is welcome to download the PDFs from a Google Drive folder I've created here:
(please private-message me if the folder is not properly configured for anyone to access via the link above, and I'll try to fix it and/or provide links to the individual PDFs ...).
From public records on-line, I've learned that Michael S. Spacek passed away on 21-Jan-1991 in Pottstown, PA, at age 76, but my on-line search efforts to locate any newspaper obituary have so far been unsuccessful. His family residence (incl. his basement optical shop and the roll-off-roof observatory on the property) was listed for rent since at least 2012 and perhaps even earlier, before being listed for sale in late 2015 and sold in summer 2017, again according to public records.
* * * *
 The telescope I built with the 8-inch f/12 primary was a folded-Newtonian, housed initially in a home-made tube consisting of wooden strips bolted inside aluminum hoops, on another pipe-fittings mount (with machined bushings instead of turn-on-threads). During my freshman year at the Penn State Berks Campus, I built a permanent steel pier and extremely heavy-duty GEM (with 2-inch stainless steel shafts, tapered roller bearings, and a clock drive) in the middle of a clearing surrounded by trees in an undeveloped part of the campus, and the optics were installed inside a Parks fiberglass tube and the OTA was donated to the physics dept. (That "clearing surrounded by trees in an undeveloped part of the campus" circa 1979 is now an ancillary parking lot ... ) - :
 Here is a nice set of photos of a vintage Spitz Planetarium Projector, in which you can see the lenses for the brighter stars (along with others that project images of the Milky Way) mounted in the projector's large hollow sphere: https://agentgallery...arium-projector Obviously modern-day planetariums are equipped with digital projectors ... the Spitz A4 being decidedly 'old school' ....
 During the last half of the summer, I asked (and was kindly given) his permission to setup a project of my own on one or two of the grinding and polishing machines in the basement shop that were not in use. My first project was to use his longest-radius iron grinding tool --- something like 36" --- to grind and polish a 5-inch, 18-inch focal length mirror, that we subsequently figured into a paraboloid for an f/3.5 Rich Field Telescope. Before heading back to college, I built a small Dobsonian mount for this scope, whose 3-degree field (with a 1980s-vintage Meade 20mm wide-angle eyepiece) I still very much enjoy using to view the Milky Way, comets, etc. Before my summer job ended, I also completed grinding and polishing the four spherical surfaces of a 6-inch achromatic doublet objective lens (from a just-newly-introduced kit from that era), although sadly I ran out of time that summer before I could setup the doublet for testing and figuring it as an assembly. My recent participation here on CN ... especially reading the ATM / optics threads ... is, finally ... after 40 years(!!) ... getting me inspired to -- eventually -- actually assemble and test it ....
Edited by jkmccarthy, 31 March 2021 - 02:20 PM.