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Von Werner Reflector, worth it?

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#1 Mattfpm781

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Posted 08 January 2019 - 01:07 AM

Hi,

 

New member looking at a local telescope for sale.  Has anyone heard of this brand?  Is it any good?  They're asking $50.

 

Thanks in advance!

 

Matt

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#2 photomagica

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Posted 08 January 2019 - 02:11 AM

Likely this isn't a very good telescope, with a marginally OK mirror if that and squinty little eyepieces that overpower the telescope. However it is a great vintage find if you are into that. There was a time in the 1950s and 1960s when Japanese distributors put names that sounded like famous Germans or German companies on their items. This one is obviously inspired by Werner Von Braun. I've also seen Carl Wetzlar binoculars inspired by Carl Zeiss and Letiz Wetzlar.

Bill


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#3 Littlegreenman

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Posted 08 January 2019 - 03:18 AM

The brand name is not relevant; just something an importing company in the US slapped on it. The circle T insignia stands for Towa (unless I've misunderstood hundreds of posts I've about it on this forum!).

Towa was a pretty good Japanese scope maker, but maybe not as consistently good as Royal Astro or other companies selling similar scopes. This is a 4 1/2" f/7.8 or 7.9 reflector. The mirror may or may not be parabolic, but for an F/7-almost 8 mirror a spherical mirror will still work just fine.

In my opinion, these reflectors, and it seemed that most of the scope makers in Japan sold a 4.5" f/ almost 8, are great bargains.

The good

The optics are generally pretty good to amazingly good, unless the mirrors have damage.

An F/7.8 mirror is not hard to make.

Optical performance is usually better than good, maybe very good or better.

A bargain for $50

A good first scope

 

The not so good, & some fixes.

The mount and legs are not quite up to holding the weight of the tube

The solution is to tighten every bolt between the tube and the ground.

Very good balancing of the tube is a must; you can't count on the weight of a strong mount and tripod to rigidly hold the tube still. The clamp that holds the tube may be a bit loose. Some new (self) adhesive felt available at hobby stores can take up the slop.

0.965 fitting for eyepieces

An adapter that lets you use 1.25" eyepieces in the focuser is a solution. Not all eyepieces may reach focus. There are very good and even great 0.965 eyepieces, but they not as readily available as 1.25" eyepiece.

 

Conclusion:

While not perfect, it would be very hard and unlikely to find anything else for $50 that would be as good. And if it isn't very good, you haven't spent hundreds. It would be easy to sell this scope and get your money back, or even make a profit if you are so inclined.

 

Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good. Our current consumerist culture is obsessed with getting the "best." (I recently drove a friends Tesla. Sigh).

Sometimes pretty good is good enough.

 

Littlegreenman

If you do buy it, you will probably run into some questions or problems. Just ask on this forum for help.


Edited by Littlegreenman, 08 January 2019 - 03:37 AM.

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#4 beanerds

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Posted 08 January 2019 - 03:24 AM

I have a Tasco branded version of these , its the red one and I got mine for a song and after a little work I found that it performed really well , yes the mount is a bit wobbly and the eyepieces average but all in all it was a great scope . Model 11T if memory serves .
For $50 you really cant go wrong .

Beanerds.

ps, I donated mine to a young up and comer and he was over the moon as for a 1st scope you could do way worse .

Edited by beanerds, 08 January 2019 - 03:38 AM.

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#5 Mattfpm781

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Posted 08 January 2019 - 09:18 AM

Thanks for the great feedback!!  My current/first scope is a $10 garage sale 60 mm refractor so this one would be slightly better.  I'll pass on this one to keep the clutter in my garage under control.

 

Matt

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#6 terraclarke

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Posted 08 January 2019 - 09:35 AM

That is a nice find at a great price! It will make a very nice complement to your refractor. A 4.5” F8 Newtonian can show you quite a bit with greater light-gathering capacity and angular resolution than your refractor. It will really show its greater grasp when you compare views of DSOs. Enjoy! You did good! smile.gif
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#7 roscoe

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Posted 08 January 2019 - 10:19 AM

Your refractor is a fine find itself, especially for $10!!  That looks to be easily convertible to modern 1.25 eyepieces and diagonals with a Vixen tailpiece adapter ($25-30)  finder scopes that fit drift through the classifieds regularly.  what brand is it?

 

Your Von Werner will be sorta shaky on that mount/tripod....   An easy fix for that, if you have some wood-working skill, would be to build it a dob base.  First, clean it up and test it, though, to be sure it'd be worth the fixup.


Edited by roscoe, 08 January 2019 - 10:23 AM.

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#8 catboat

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Posted 08 January 2019 - 04:04 PM

waytogo.gif  If you like to tinker, this would be a good scope for learning about reflectors.  As posted earlier, adapt it for 1.25'' eyepieces or find better .965 ones.  I'd want a decent alt-az mount for maximum ease (I'm lazy) for your refractor and this reflector.

 

I've never come across a label saying Von Werner, but you won't find a cooler name.  That guy could count backwards to zero!



#9 Chuck Hards

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Posted 08 January 2019 - 06:00 PM

I see some Tanzutzu accessories with that Towa scope.  They wouldn't be original kit.

 

I also wonder if Von Werner might be the company behind that mysterious VW maker's mark we've wondered about for years.   


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#10 beanerds

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Posted 08 January 2019 - 11:57 PM

Awesome refractor and what a good score ! .

I found a couple of photos of my donated Tasco 11T , I forgot that I put it on an old Meade LX500 GEM I had lying around before I gave it away , this mount and tube were a great combination .
I payed $75aud for this one at the local 2nd hand store .

Oh yes the old EQ2 is now a perfect match for my newer LP 60mm f7 triplet .

Beanerds.

ps. on the shed clutter ? , you aint a classic telescope hoarder until you cant swing a cat in your shed , get used to it LOL .

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Edited by beanerds, 09 January 2019 - 12:04 AM.

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#11 catboat

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Posted 09 January 2019 - 02:38 AM

I see some Tanzutzu accessories with that Towa scope.  They wouldn't be original kit.

 

I also wonder if Von Werner might be the company behind that mysterious VW maker's mark we've wondered about for years.   

Hi Chuck,

 

Just speculating, but I think Bill's/photomagica's post about marketing tactics is on the mark -- and this one takes its cue from the famous / infamous rocket scientist.  WvB evidently had his own TV talk show in the late '50s following the launch of the Explorer satellite -- plus the 1960 film 'I Aim at the Stars' (of 'sometimes I hit London' fame).  

 

The marketing name might explain the mysterious VW maker's mark that we've seen on other gear.  That's a possibility worth keeping an eye on.  But I take it that most of us have never seen the Von Werner label before.  I think we would have seen Von Werner more often if there was a connection between the two.  

 

Von Werner must have been a short-lived name.  Someone may have clued in the Japanese that von Braun wasn't universally popular  (the London thing).  This is all speculation, but I'd say to to the OP, buy it for the label (and enjoy it).  


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#12 Ben Bajorek

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Posted 09 January 2019 - 07:21 AM

You too may be a big hero
Once you've learned to count backwards to zero
"In German, oder Englisch, I know how to count down
Und I'm learning Chinese!" says Wernher von Braun

 

Tom Lehrer


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#13 Chuck Hards

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Posted 09 January 2019 - 08:30 AM

Hi Chuck,

 

Just speculating, but I think Bill's/photomagica's post about marketing tactics is on the mark -- and this one takes its cue from the famous / infamous rocket scientist.  WvB evidently had his own TV talk show in the late '50s following the launch of the Explorer satellite -- plus the 1960 film 'I Aim at the Stars' (of 'sometimes I hit London' fame).  

 

The marketing name might explain the mysterious VW maker's mark that we've seen on other gear.  That's a possibility worth keeping an eye on.  But I take it that most of us have never seen the Von Werner label before.  I think we would have seen Von Werner more often if there was a connection between the two.  

 

Von Werner must have been a short-lived name.  Someone may have clued in the Japanese that von Braun wasn't universally popular  (the London thing).  This is all speculation, but I'd say to to the OP, buy it for the label (and enjoy it).  

 

Food for thought, for sure, Edward.  I've wondered about some other oddball brandings I've seen on Towa scopes, sometimes only a single example.  I have a Topic brand 60mm Towa, for instance.  Only one I've ever seen.


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#14 Astrojensen

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Posted 09 January 2019 - 03:52 PM

I wonder if the tripod legs are Braun. grin.gif

 

 

Clear skies!
Thomas, Denmark


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#15 Mattfpm781

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Posted 11 January 2019 - 01:11 PM

You guys are a bad influence!! I thought I’d pass it up but it is a good price for what it is. I bought it last night and did a quick look through the eye pieces and it’s in good shape. The previous owner had it for 30 years, stored inside with covers on. Hopefully the weather is good this weekend!
Matt
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#16 tim53

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Posted 11 January 2019 - 01:49 PM

Zoom in on that label.  I'm not convinced that's a circle T.  Looks like a Y.



#17 roscoe

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Posted 11 January 2019 - 02:26 PM

I think it's a (Y) also.... Good catch, Tim!



#18 Mattfpm781

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Posted 12 January 2019 - 01:11 AM

Here’s a close up of the lower corner of the label. Looks like a T in this pic, what’s the circle T mean?

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#19 Kasmos

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Posted 12 January 2019 - 04:34 AM

In this case circle 'T' means it's built by Towa.

 

Chuck, I've seen a few Topic branded Towas. There was a 80mm one on ebay for quite some time awhile ago.



#20 Chuck Hards

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Posted 12 January 2019 - 05:03 PM

In this case circle 'T' means it's built by Towa.

 

Chuck, I've seen a few Topic branded Towas. There was a 80mm one on ebay for quite some time awhile ago.

Chris, I got my 60mm locally a few years ago from a picker's warehouse.   I had never heard of it at the time so grabbed it.  Was going to use it for parts for other Towas but it was pretty much all there save an eyepiece or two IIRC, so I've resisted parting it out.  Deep red stained wood box, everything in pretty good shape.  But nothing out of the ordinary, just run-of-the-mill Towa.  I wonder how small of a run an importer could contract with Towa for?  


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#21 Kasmos

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Posted 12 January 2019 - 08:28 PM

Chris, I got my 60mm locally a few years ago from a picker's warehouse.   I had never heard of it at the time so grabbed it.  Was going to use it for parts for other Towas but it was pretty much all there save an eyepiece or two IIRC, so I've resisted parting it out.  Deep red stained wood box, everything in pretty good shape.  But nothing out of the ordinary, just run-of-the-mill Towa.  I wonder how small of a run an importer could contract with Towa for?  

After your post it got me thinking that a fun 'Topic' (no pun intended wink.gif ), would be a comprehensive thread on all of the different badges and brands of Towas.


Edited by Kasmos, 12 January 2019 - 08:30 PM.

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