Here's some of my 304 power version. Love the scope, but not a big fan of the storage configuration!
Keith, thanks for posting pics of this particular scope. This version is the one I've discussed with you and Chuck in the past. As it is the same version I have and is the next version of the Tasco 7TE date/linage wise.
This range follows the 05XXXX serial numbered 227 Power Model and begins the first version of the 304 Power models. I forgot to note that a Tasco 227 Power scope was found with a Macy's department store newspaper ad dating Nov 1958 for that scope.
Tasco 304 Power Models with serial numbers ranging from 046172 to 046366. Circa Early 1959 to Mid 1959 date range. Serial Number range based on known documented scopes to date.
The example that I own came with a sales receipt dated May 1959. There is 7T written on the sales receipt. This is one reason I judge these very first 304 Power scope to date back to early 1959.
These scopes still use the smooth black finish on the mounts/focuser etc. The objective cell for the first time now has the three pairs of adjustment screws for squaring the objective to the OTA. The small wood accessory tray is now replaced by the metal tray with four holes.
The same flexible handle control rods are used. The pinion knobs are the same. The mount is revised and has the Dec axis hand control knob removed, but still retains the knob for the RA axis. The addition of a hand locking knob for the AZ base is added for the first time. See ref photo of AZ Base.
Also the distinct Tasco volcano style of eyepieces are now being used and they sport the magnification engraved on the top of the eyelens housing. See ref photo of these eyepieces.
Another unique aspect of this scope is that this is the only group of serial numbers that used a translucent dust cover for the objective that fits just inside the metal dew shield. There is a distinct logo or pattern molded into the dust cover. I believe it is the logo for the manufacture of the dust cover. But would like to know if the logo pattern is somehow related to Astro Optical in some form before their distinct stamped mark begins showing up on later serial numbered scopes. If I let my imagination go wild, I see a resemblance to the RAO stamp and what is molded into the plastic dust cover. Take a look for yourself at the comparison photos below.
There still is no Astro Optical mark stamped on focuser name tag.
I believe there is only one version of the wooden box interior layout have been found to date. But for the first time there is a pair of wooden dividers used to help store the fully assembled telescope in the wooden box in which the legs and OTA are nested around the dividers.
The wooden box name tag reads: TASCO 60mm TELESCOPE top line, 304X 146X 90X middle line and MADE IN JAPAN on bottom third line with the J having a line across the top.
The Tasco 304 Power manual found with one example does not have a boarder on the cover for the first version of this manual. Once again there is no mention of the model name of 7T or 7TE used in the first Tasco 304 Power manual. But Tasco must now be calling the scope 7T if not earlier and the manuals just are not yet revised to reflect small changes such as this. See ref photo of Tasco 304 Power manual cover first version.
Edited by Stargoat, 10 April 2018 - 06:57 PM.