Jump to content

  •  

CNers have asked about a donation box for Cloudy Nights over the years, so here you go. Donation is not required by any means, so please enjoy your stay.

Photo

Blue Light Classics

classic equipment
  • Please log in to reply
8 replies to this topic

#1 Bomber Bob

Bomber Bob

    Voyager 1

  • *****
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 13971
  • Joined: 09 Jul 2013
  • Loc: The Deep South, USA

Posted 07 July 2018 - 12:21 PM

Attention Kmart Shoppers...

 

Seeing this Focal (Towa) 60x710 alt/az brought back memories:  https://www.ebay.com...fEAAOSw0l9a9MJ9

 

My very first telescope was a Kmart Focal 40mm tabletop refractor with the click zoom and R&P focuser.  I'm pretty sure it was a Towa, but that was 50 years ago...  (My older brother managed sporting goods at our Kmart, and got an employee discount.)

 

Before Towa swamped the import market, Kmart had other suppliers -- I saw an Eikow mark on an old Focal 60mm spotting scope.  But even their Towa offerings were often the better grade.  Check the scope I linked to, with its metal focus knobs.  And I found this Model 191 to be a good 3" Newtonian:

 

Kmart Focal Model 191.jpg

 

Any other CN members who owned Focal scopes?


  • steve t and Bigern like this

#2 grif 678

grif 678

    Apollo

  • *****
  • Posts: 1141
  • Joined: 22 Dec 2010
  • Loc: NC

Posted 07 July 2018 - 12:48 PM

I had a very small reflector, I mean very small. The best I can remember, the mirror was maybe 1 1/2 inches in diameter, and the whole tube was probably about 12 to 14 inches, all metal though. It had three small tripod legs about 15 inches long. I bought this at a Western Auto store back in the early 60's, I remember it being $7.99, I also remember it being a Focal made scope. I actually could see the rings of Saturn very well in this small scope, wish I still had it, it was a well built scope.


  • steve t and terraclarke like this

#3 jim kuhns

jim kuhns

    Viking 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 622
  • Joined: 12 Dec 2007
  • Loc: southeast GA.

Posted 07 July 2018 - 01:31 PM

My first telescope was a Gilbert, that was bought from a toy store in 1964 across from K-mart.  It had a 2" spherical

mirror. around f/10, a metal sight tube, a rack and pinion plastic focuser, a 80X plastic eyepiece with plastic lens,

a three legged tripod, a sun projection screen that you placed on the lens that I was able to see sunspots projected on to and a nice zip up case. cost around $30.00 a lot of money to spend back then . 


  • steve t, DMala and bbastoky like this

#4 Tom Masterson

Tom Masterson

    Mariner 2

  • *****
  • Posts: 222
  • Joined: 08 Aug 2009
  • Loc: Pacific Northwest - Astro-Hell

Posted 08 July 2018 - 10:51 AM

Boy, that sure looks a lot like a 3" Tasco that I found under the Christmas tree in the 1960s. It was my first "big" scope - a step up from the 50mm click stop table top refractor I started with. It's looong gone so I have no idea who the manufacturer was.


  • steve t likes this

#5 ftwskies

ftwskies

    Viking 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 880
  • Joined: 29 Jan 2015
  • Loc: Under Fort Worth skies...

Posted 11 July 2018 - 03:04 PM

I would LOVE to find a duplicate of my first scope -- a Kmart FOCAL brand 60mm (x700mm, I suppose) refractor with (I'm 99% sure) had a bright orange tube with black trim.  This was c.1983.  It had a table-top tripod with a simple alt-az yoke style mount (black with chrome legs with rubber tips), the finder was mounted with just an "omega-shaped" bent strap of metal, and the eyepieces included a 40mm (I think) probably erect-image jobbie that doubled as a hand-held "microscope" and a cheap H6mm that only showed me blurry light and eyelash silhouettes.  It also had one of those treacherous thread-in "sun filters" with a red plastic frame.

 

It never did give me those close-up views of lunar craters that the box promised.  mad.gif  lol.gif As I recall, the box was silver cardboard with a styrofoam tray.

 

Even after I got rid of the scope I kept the achromat objective as a cool trinket for some years, but eventually discarded it, too.  I remember it had a single clear plastic ring for a spacer.

 

Try as I might, though, I can't find any evidence online that FOCAL ever sold an orange-tubed refractor, much less find one extant to purchase.  I see some red ones, but they are more recent than mine.  (I can tell by the design of the mount.  It has knobs on it.)


  • steve t and Bomber Bob like this

#6 Bomber Bob

Bomber Bob

    Voyager 1

  • *****
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 13971
  • Joined: 09 Jul 2013
  • Loc: The Deep South, USA

Posted 11 July 2018 - 03:32 PM

I remember it had a single clear plastic ring for a spacer.

 

That sounds like TOWA.


  • ftwskies likes this

#7 ftwskies

ftwskies

    Viking 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 880
  • Joined: 29 Jan 2015
  • Loc: Under Fort Worth skies...

Posted 11 July 2018 - 05:34 PM

I agree, JW, but it was late Towa.  The build quality was pretty poor.  I wonder if the lens was any good?  I didn't know enough back then to test it.  I just wish I could find one like it for sentimental reasons.



#8 starman876

starman876

    Hubble

  • *****
  • Posts: 17958
  • Joined: 28 Apr 2008
  • Loc: VA

Posted 11 July 2018 - 08:57 PM

Think a lot of us had a Gilbert.  For some reason parents liked buying those for their kids.



#9 roscoe

roscoe

    curmudgeon

  • *****
  • Posts: 9027
  • Joined: 04 Feb 2009
  • Loc: NW Mass, inches from VT

Posted 12 July 2018 - 06:36 AM

My first scope was a Gilbert, put me off reflector scopes for ....about 50 years.




CNers have asked about a donation box for Cloudy Nights over the years, so here you go. Donation is not required by any means, so please enjoy your stay.


Recent Topics





Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: classic, equipment



Cloudy Nights LLC
Cloudy Nights Sponsor: Astronomics