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Vintage Large Achro-Refractors, Clarke etc. Anyone Own?

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#1 RalphMeisterTigerMan

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Posted 23 June 2018 - 12:30 AM

I have always had this thing for large vintage refractors, especially with brass tubes. Whether it's a Clarke, Brashear, Fitz, Bardou, Carl Zeiss, Sagemueller, Grub Parsons they all hold a special fascination to me.

I would like to hear from anyone who owns or has owned one of these scopes from the 19th century. Also, your experiences looking through these "babies" with various types of eyepieces, both vintage and modern.

Your comments on how they perform on Lunar, Planetary and Deep Sky.

And, even though it maybe a little unfair, comparisons between the vintage achromats and modern achromats and apochromats.

RalphMeisterTigerMan


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#2 TOMDEY

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Posted 23 June 2018 - 01:17 AM

Hi, Ralph! This book lists each/every (?) Clark Refractor, and who the customers were. On the used market... when they Rarely come up... $100K for an 8-incher wouldn't surprise me. I assume you have the book already, but others might be interested. A nice, shiny 8" or larger sure would be nice... and deserving to be operational in an old-school dome. Visual use, just as when they were in their prime.

 

Come to think of it... back then, a 4-inch DID cost as much as a HOUSE!  Tom

 

Attached Thumbnails

  • Book 60.jpg


#3 B 26354

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Posted 23 June 2018 - 10:29 AM

Hi, Ralph! This book lists each/every (?) Clark Refractor, and who the customers were. On the used market... when they Rarely come up... $100K for an 8-incher wouldn't surprise me. I assume you have the book already, but others might be interested. A nice, shiny 8" or larger sure would be nice... and deserving to be operational in an old-school dome. Visual use, just as when they were in their prime.

 

Come to think of it... back then, a 4-inch DID cost as much as a HOUSE!  Tom

Thanks for the post. I love my well-worn 1968 1st edition, but didn't realize there was a '95 2nd ed. Just ordered a used copy from Amazon. As president of a local astronomy club, I had access to a small college's 4" Clark (on a brass, pendulum-driven EQ mount) for several years, during my teens and early twenties. I'd sell my non-existent soul to have that scope now.



#4 csrlice12

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Posted 23 June 2018 - 10:42 AM

Our club runs Chamberlin Observatory containing a 20" Clark/Sagemueler built in 1894.  The optics (scope and eyepieces) were taken apart and cleaned recently.  Our Chief Observer is Jack Eastman, who owns at least one, possibly more Clark.  He also has a functional 1.5" reflector made from the mirror of one of the first C8s, which he helped design.  If I only knew half of what this man has forgotten, I'd be a happy astronomer.



#5 csa/montana

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Posted 23 June 2018 - 10:44 AM

Moved to Refractors, for better fit.



#6 Cotts

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Posted 23 June 2018 - 01:37 PM

Our club runs Chamberlin Observatory containing a 20" Clark/Sagemueler built in 1894.  The optics (scope and eyepieces) were taken apart and cleaned recently.  Our Chief Observer is Jack Eastman, who owns at least one, possibly more Clark.  He also has a functional 1.5" reflector made from the mirror of one of the first C8s, which he helped design.  If I only knew half of what this man has forgotten, I'd be a happy astronomer.

I see Jack and his 6" Clark every year at the OkieTex Star Party.  Jack is one of the finest gentlemen you'd ever want to meet.  He spends most of his nights there selflessly in 'outreach' mode as everyone drops by to see through the old Clark... I wonder if he ever gets to look at stuff HE wants to see.....

 

IMG_2183.jpg

 

Dave


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#7 LMO

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Posted 23 June 2018 - 04:13 PM

There is a very well-known Clark 9" out here in Utah, originally owned by the University of Utah, donated as no-longer-wanted to a smaller Utah college, then rescued from there by CN member 'Ziggy943' -- just as it was about to be thrown away!  He has now passed it along to his son, and it still appears occasionally at Utah star parties, an outreach generosity and bit of good luck for those of us in Utah.

 

Passing of the 9" Clark refractor:
<https://www.cloudyni.../#entry6962512>

 

Homage to 9" Glass (with photos):
<https://www.cloudyni.../#entry7517169>

 

I met him for the first time last night at an outreach star party, essentially in the middle of Salt Lake City, held by the Salt Lake Astronomical Society.  To that one, he had brought 'just' his TEC 160 ED!  A very informative and patient fellow to talk to, as well as one very generous with his really fine equipment.

 

    Larry


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#8 OldWally

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Posted 31 July 2018 - 11:48 AM

 

I have this one ......And will be putting it in service pretty soon.... 4 inch Clark ,  year 1910

 
4" Clark lens # 441
1910 4 inch Clark
956266 1
Clark 4" OTA
Clark 4" ota in Case
1
956266 12
956266 6
956266 3

 

 

 
 
Still looking for more eyepieces Everything is getting hard to find...

 


Edited by OldWally, 01 August 2018 - 10:57 AM.

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#9 t.r.

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Posted 31 July 2018 - 07:10 PM

Old Wally...Did you happen to get that from Don Yeier?
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#10 terraclarke

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Posted 01 August 2018 - 09:32 AM

Moved to Refractors, for better fit.

The CN Classics forum would give it a great deal more action.


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#11 terraclarke

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Posted 01 August 2018 - 09:35 AM

I have always had this thing for large vintage refractors, especially with brass tubes. Whether it's a Clarke, 

Actually it’s Clark, without the e, and Alvan (with an a instead of an I). ;)


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#12 OldWally

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Posted 01 August 2018 - 10:05 AM

"Old Wally...Did you happen to get that from Don Yeier?"

 

 

 

 

No... I just found out last year that His clark went up for auction ... It was sold in 2014 at the Skinner Auction Auction: 2760M Lot: 299 and sold for $13,530... I purchased mine last summer from a gentleman in Florida...

 

It seams like I find out about these things after the fact I would have liked to have had the chance to bid on his Clark..

 


Edited by OldWally, 01 August 2018 - 10:09 AM.


#13 jcj380

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Posted 01 August 2018 - 12:10 PM

I've used the 18-in Clark at Dearborn Observatory.  Given how much I paid in tuition, I should own a share of it.


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#14 gnowellsct

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Posted 01 August 2018 - 01:14 PM

I'm on the board of the Dudley observatory which owns a Brashear 12 inch f/15.   We were discussing restoration plans and I said well the least we should do to start is go down to the basement and see if we can get the mount to track at 15 degrees an hour.  So I got a friend and we went down there and had our first look.

 

Two guys are not about to set this mount up.  More like eight or ten with block and tackle.  Moreover it can't be done down in the basement with its relatively low ceiling.   "You have no idea."  (unless you've worked with a similar class instrument)

 

Although the optics are good, about .8 Strehl, any restoration effort must address the issue of where to put it and what kind of building to put around it to make it suitable for public display.  The required financing is way beyond what we have.  The 20" refractor at Chabot is more humongous.  I would say that restoring one of these telescopes *when you have a site and the mount is in place* is, though not easy, doable.  But once the scope has been dismounted and the mount disassembled, even though well  crated and preserved, you have a formidable problem if you want to house it and make it accessible along the lines, say, of the Griffith Observatory or Chabot.  You need the real estate you need a building design friendly to the operation of the telescope and up to contemporary museum architecture standards.    Due to vast arcs of eyepiece movement you really need a building with space for a large ladder (posing accessibility issues for handicapped and older people) or a kind of gallery construction with multiple tiers.  Or you can limit your observing targets to what's easy to access.  

 

Greg N


Edited by gnowellsct, 01 August 2018 - 01:24 PM.

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#15 gnowellsct

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Posted 01 August 2018 - 01:25 PM

For personal ownership I wouldn't go near one of these telescopes, even the four inch class, not even OldWally's beautiful specimen.    It takes someone who's "totally into it" to manage and maintain a piece of hardware like this.   Greg N


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#16 t.r.

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Posted 01 August 2018 - 02:21 PM

I don't know, I think there are a few "old hands" here that could handle the care and feeding of these beauties and I'm glad if they have the effort and resolve to do it! We have a local example, a Brashear 6" f 12 that's in fine restored condition...except someone stole the original objective lens out of it!!!

Edited by t.r., 01 August 2018 - 02:25 PM.

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#17 OldWally

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Posted 01 August 2018 - 02:22 PM

Actually with the 1500  4" unitron mount is is not that bad to set up The unitron mount is more beefier and I have it motorized so it will track,, getting eyepieces/diagonals is the hard part most are bought up by collectors... Some day it will have it's own place to house it..


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#18 gnowellsct

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Posted 01 August 2018 - 04:31 PM

Actually with the 1500  4" unitron mount is is not that bad to set up The unitron mount is more beefier and I have it motorized so it will track,, getting eyepieces/diagonals is the hard part most are bought up by collectors... Some day it will have it's own place to house it..

I guess so...but it seems to me to be on a par with setting up a G11/C14, just looking it over and mentally estimating the weight of the mount.  That is doable, as you say...but for a four inch aperture, you know, that's what I mean when I say "you gotta be into it."   FS102 or Vixen 103 etc. is a lot less grief.  

 

But as I like to say, I'm very glad to have one of these scopes around as long as I don't own it and I don't set it up or take it down.    

 

Greg N


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#19 OldWally

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Posted 01 August 2018 - 10:47 PM

I guess so...but it seems to me to be on a par with setting up a G11/C14, just looking it over and mentally estimating the weight of the mount.  That is doable, as you say...but for a four inch aperture, you know, that's what I mean when I say "you gotta be into it."   FS102 or Vixen 103 etc. is a lot less grief.  

 

But as I like to say, I'm very glad to have one of these scopes around as long as I don't own it and I don't set it up or take it down.    

 

Greg N

Actually I think setting up a G11/C14 would be harder than setting up my Clark on the 1500 Unitron Mount, of course I have been setting up my Unitron 160 for the past 10 years.. Yes it is cumbersome and takes time but I don't do it on a daily basis.. I do agree with you they both need Domes or a roll of roof, and should be permanently mounted . Yes it takes real estate and a building... Some day they will...

 

 

masterofyou fW12br8TL B

 


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#20 RalphMeisterTigerMan

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Posted 03 August 2018 - 12:01 AM

Dear TerraClark, thanks for the corrections. Me thinks my speeeling is a tad atroschious! LOL!

 

Thanks for the pics of the beautiful brass 4" Clark, I am envious!!!.

 

If I could have just one destination for a Time Jump to the past, I would choose to go back to 1895 Flagstaff Arizona. Get to know Percival Lowell and see if he would allow me to observe Mars through the 24" Clark sort of side-by-side with him, I would love not only to look through it, but to see what he was actually seeing. What a rush!

 

RalphMeisterTigerMan


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#21 RalphMeisterTigerMan

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Posted 03 August 2018 - 05:48 PM

Has anyone ever owned or used a 3" Tasco refractor. They are rare but they do exist, I would like to know how the objective of the 3" Tasco perform.

 

RalphMeisterTigerMan



#22 bob midiri

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Posted 03 August 2018 - 06:21 PM

Im surprised that Bart from Antique Telescooe Society hasnt chimed in. You might want to PM him. 



#23 oldscope

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Posted 03 August 2018 - 07:31 PM

Im surprised that Bart from Antique Telescooe Society hasnt chimed in. You might want to PM him. 

Been busy prepping for the ATS / Stellafane convention. But I'll chime in.

 

Bart



#24 oldscope

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Posted 03 August 2018 - 07:37 PM

I have always had this thing for large vintage refractors, especially with brass tubes. Whether it's a Clarke, Brashear, Fitz, Bardou, Carl Zeiss, Sagemueller, Grub Parsons they all hold a special fascination to me.

I would like to hear from anyone who owns or has owned one of these scopes from the 19th century. Also, your experiences looking through these "babies" with various types of eyepieces, both vintage and modern.

Your comments on how they perform on Lunar, Planetary and Deep Sky.

And, even though it maybe a little unfair, comparisons between the vintage achromats and modern achromats and apochromats.

RalphMeisterTigerMan

Ralph,

 

Your best bet for getting involved in antique and historic telescopes is through the Antique Telescope Society. It's a group of like-minded folks who take their old telescopes seriously. The ATS_Forum, a Yahoo! group, has about 35,000 posts on the subject that you can peruse if you wish to subscribe.

 

I have owned about 15 or 20 antique telescopes over the years, though not at one time. Currently I have two Brashear refractors, a Cooke refractor and parts to a Cooke/Queen pier and mount, with clock drive. I use modern eyepieces, which give a wider field of view. The quality isn't really better, but modern coatings and glass gives a better design palette to choose from.

 

Bart



#25 oldscope

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Posted 03 August 2018 - 07:46 PM

Hi, Ralph! This book lists each/every (?) Clark Refractor, and who the customers were. On the used market... when they Rarely come up... $100K for an 8-incher wouldn't surprise me. I assume you have the book already, but others might be interested. A nice, shiny 8" or larger sure would be nice... and deserving to be operational in an old-school dome. Visual use, just as when they were in their prime.

 

Come to think of it... back then, a 4-inch DID cost as much as a HOUSE!  Tom

Tom,

 

The Artists in Optics 2nd edition is already in dire need of an update. It will be a while, as one of the authors, Bob Ariail, passed away recently and I don't think Deb Warner is interested in the project any more, as she is closing in on retirement at the N.M.A.H. - Smithsonian. The 2nd edition certainly does not list every known Clark. As for $100k for an 8 inch Clark ... hardly. In fact, one was given to me for the price of coming and picking it up. The issue isn't the cost of the telescope, it is the cost of the land and observatory it requires, so larger telescopes are often given away, as they are difficult to sell. The highest price EVER for any antique telescope was about $105k for a rare and supremely interesting and historic early Dollond achromat. And it only went that high because a few rich Europeans went berserk in an auction. The buyer is a friend of mine and he wanted it for his incredible collection of early and important telescopes.

 

BTW, I could not give away the 8 inch Clark ... but I did sell it, sort of. It really became part of a three way trade, and I ended up with a 4 inch Brashear and some cash. That Brashear can be seen in the classifieds, now sold. Awesome lens in that baby. I have seller's regret of sorts but it just wasn't being used any longer. I much rather see it in the hands of another aficionado who will be using it.

 

Bart


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