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Classic Club?

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#1 TSSClay

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Posted 18 April 2019 - 07:08 AM

I spent a very enjoyable evening yesterday looking over the records and history of the Detroit Astronomical Society.  The DAS has been defunct for around 20 years but one of my friends, upon hearing of my interest in finding the builder of the Rae Klopenstein Mystery Telescope, delivered a plastic tote full of records to me at NEAF.  The club started in 1932 and remained active for over 60 years meeting weekly for stretches of time.

 

I know the records that I have (mostly from 1971 to 1984) are incomplete but I was amazed and impressed but the number of members and their interests.  So far I have not found anything related to the RKMT (sorry Tom) but I did find a wide range of members from professors to "Bumper Men" and a range of interests with emphasis on telescope building.  In reading parts of a book titled DAS History I found out the club was known for eclipse chasing.  Members would travel together for solar eclipses at any opportunity.  One of the gentlemen interviewed for the History Book related that he wanted to build a telescope and was in correspondence with Albert Ingalls and Russell Porter during the grinding of the mirror.  Once the mirror was done he mailed it to Russell Porter and Mr. Porter tested it for him!  Can you imagine the designer of the 200" telescope testing your mirror for you?

 

I am looking forward to continuing my reading of the history and looking over any other records I can find.  The membership listings have given me some surprises as I read them.  The DAS address was at one time in the 1970's listed as being on Lauder St. in Detroit - only a mile or so from  where a young Clay, in the 1960's, was wondering how to make enough money cutting lawns to purchase a telescope.  Another  member lived on Coyle St. just a couple of blocks over!  Why couldn't I have seen anyone using a telescope in the neighborhood?  Looking at a membership record the "Reason for Joining" was given as "Insanity - He Met Dick Locke".   I am not sure who Dick Locke was but I expect I can find out - sounds like he had a "reputation".   Looking at copies of newspaper clippings in the back of the book I found a 1980 article with a picture of my current neighbor, Jeff Thrush, looking through his "High Power 8" Telescope".  Jeff still  has that C-8.

 

I guess my point is these memories are out there and can be found!  Once in a while a long time member will share memories of their early days in this hobby with us here.  We all enjoy this and should encourage them to do so.  There are other older clubs out there and their records can prove a treasure trove of information and memories.   Make an effort to find them and look them over.

 

When I am finished looking at these records I will make sure they are safely returned to the fellow that loaned them to me.  I may make a copy of the history book first!

 

Best Regards

Clay


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#2 Garyth64

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Posted 18 April 2019 - 07:55 AM

I was a member of the DAS, starting about 1965.  I  made my 6" f/10 (9.6) mirror there at the time.  There were a couple of gentlemen there who helped in making mirrors.  When I made mine, there were about 3 or 4 others who were in different stages of making their mirrors.  The final testing was done there too.  They had a long optical bench in a long narrow room they did testing on.

 

I use to walk about 5 blocks to pick up a bus on Fort Street that would take me to the Detroit.  I'd then walk over to Jefferson and pick up another bus that took me to the Sylva Allen Center, that was across from Belle Isle,  where the meetings were held on the 2nd floor.

 

After a while, I met a gentleman named Mike Manyak.  He lived about 8 blocks from my home in Southgate.  When he found out that I was taking the bus, he offered to drive me back and forth to the meetings.  He did that for about a year or so.  Mike was making a Maksutov, and it was difficult for him, because he had trouble with his hands.  When you looked at his hands, you could see scars on his palms from operations.

 

Dick Lloyd took me home a couple of times too.

 

The only other name I remember is Tom Waineo.  He was an optician who worked at Space Optics Research Laboratories in MA.  They would make optics for NASA.  He also many telescopes for others, and has had a couple of them in S&T.  Some of you may have heard of the Waineo Null Test. 

With the help of Tom, we came up with the design of my 8" Gregorian.  It would require a parabolic f/3 primary, which I had trouble getting the correction right.  Tom took the primary back to his lab in MA, and put the finishing touches on it, and mailed it back.

 

I still have the 6" f/10, and the 8" Gregorian today.


Edited by Garyth64, 18 April 2019 - 08:17 AM.

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#3 Chuck Hards

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Posted 18 April 2019 - 08:13 AM

A Classic Club has bacon, turkey, lettuce & tomato on toast, right?  ;)

 

I've been in our local club since the early 70's, as a teenager.  Club researchers have found earlier incarnations of a club in Salt Lake City, going back at least to the 1950's.  The club has a board position for historian and has quite a written and photographic history available.  

 

Many of the adults in the club at the time I joined are now retired or deceased.  I've lost a lot of friends over the decades.  Had a lot of fun, but can't believe how fast the years flew by.

 

I see a new crop of young people in the club these days, new faces on the board of directors.  One day, today will be nostalgia for them and I'll be just a name in the club history.


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#4 licata

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Posted 18 April 2019 - 09:16 AM

...delivered a plastic tote full of records to me at NEAF....

When I am finished looking at these records I will make sure they are safely returned to the fellow that loaned them to me.  I may make a copy of the history book first!

 

Best Regards

Clay

Very interesting Clay. Definitely make copies if you can. 


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#5 terraclarke

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Posted 18 April 2019 - 10:14 AM

Sad to hear that Detroit no longer has a club. When I was with NWA and based out of DTW, I almost bought a condo in Plymouth, (I had a crashpad in Livonia and ‘commuted from CVG). I guess it was a good thing I didn’t move up there permanently. I’ve been in Astronomy clubs since 1965 and can’t imagine not having one where I live. Is there nothing in the greater Detroit metro area any longer? Does one have to go to Ann Arbor to find one?



#6 Chuck Hards

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Posted 18 April 2019 - 10:24 AM

Sad to hear that Detroit no longer has a club. 

 

 

LINK



#7 terraclarke

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Posted 18 April 2019 - 10:26 AM

:rofl:



#8 terraclarke

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Posted 18 April 2019 - 10:30 AM

Chuck! It’s not that bad, really! (Says the person who grew up in San Bernardino. :lol: )

 

I just did a little websearch and discovered that the new club is out in the county and would have actually been closer to me:

 

http://www.warrenastro.org/was/



#9 Chuck Hards

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Posted 18 April 2019 - 10:40 AM

I've known a few "Lowbrows" over the years, but never met anyone from the Detroit club.



#10 TSSClay

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Posted 18 April 2019 - 11:11 AM

Hey Hey Hey - There are still a number of clubs in the Detroit area.  I am a member of several.  The Warren Astronomical Society may be the oldest and is located in the northern suburbs.  The Ford Amateur Astronomy Club is based in Dearborn and the Lowbrows are out of Ann Arbor.  Seven Ponds club is in the north western suburban area around Pontiac.  Lots of club activity and many members all over.  Cross membership is common.

 

Chuck - The older Lowbrows frequently refer to themselves as the "Lowenbrau astronomers" for the after meeting meeting at the Brown Jug in Ann Arbor.

 

The clubs together stage a rather large public star party every fall near Kensington Metro Park.  We have had up to 20,000 people there over a weekend.

 

I think what happened is that as people moved to the suburbs the clubs followed.  Sooner or later no one wanted to drive into Detroit for a meeting.  I guess a form of evolution.

 

Clay


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#11 TSSClay

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Posted 18 April 2019 - 11:14 AM

Terra - I work in Plymouth and there are a lot of astronomers around here.  We have an astrophotography meeting at the Plymouth Library once a month.

 

Clay


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#12 Chuck Hards

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Posted 18 April 2019 - 11:45 AM

Most of the Lowbrows I've known were either attending or teaching at the university, I got the impression that it was a university-based club.  Isn't Jan Seyfried a member?



#13 Kasmos

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Posted 18 April 2019 - 12:34 PM

I wouldn't belong to any club that would accept me as a member.


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#14 Chuck Hards

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Posted 18 April 2019 - 12:38 PM

I wouldn't belong to any club that would accept me as a member.

You and Groucho Marx. 


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#15 Chuck Hards

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Posted 18 April 2019 - 12:41 PM

I have the distinction of being the only "Junior Board Member" our club has ever had, having had the title back in the 70s.  I was too young to serve on the board, according to the constitution, so they created a new position so I could be the newsletter editor.  This was when the newsletter was printed on a mimeograph machine in the basement of the Hansen Planetarium.   

 

The position has long since been discontinued, I've never had enough free time to run for club office again.

 

SLAS1975_zps6315673d.jpg

 

 


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#16 TSSClay

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Posted 18 April 2019 - 01:30 PM

Chuck,

 

The club works closely with the University, our meetings are held at Angell Hall and the Lowbrows have been granted exclusive use of a roll off roof observatory on the Peach Mountain Radio Telescope grounds north of Ann Arbor.  The observatory holds the 24" McMath Cassigrain on a nice old mount (Warner and Swazey I think).  Public nights are scheduled there twice a month depending on weather.  The club does repairs and maintenance on these items paying for them out of club funds - sometimes on a "better to ask forgiveness than permission" basis.  All that being said the club is a completely independent entity.  The University has it's own Student Astronomy Club.  They use the 16" on top of Angell Hall for observing and public events.  Many teachers and students are also Lowbrows but there are a LOT of members that are not associated at all with the "U".

 

I don't know if Jan Seyfried is or has been a member but it would not surprise me.

 

Clay


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#17 bremms

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Posted 18 April 2019 - 01:53 PM

Classic club?? Like a Lou Gehrig bat? We had a club in college and a few kept it going after I graduated. Ours was a few people, about 10 years before it was about 25-30 people with some locals as well. I was only involved for a year and a half. There was a club in Syracuse as well, but I only went to a couple meetings.



#18 terraclarke

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Posted 18 April 2019 - 02:33 PM

I’m glad to hear that there is such a vibrant amateur astronomy community up there in the surrounding metro area. I woulda been in good company had I moved!


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#19 Mountaineer370

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Posted 18 April 2019 - 04:58 PM

Oh, yes, astronomy is definitely popular in SE Michigan!  There are numerous clubs.  I am somewhat new to belonging to a club (Ford Amateur Astronomy Club), so I never knew about the DAS.  Clay, your research into its history is a very worthy pursuit.  Those kinds of memories are priceless.

 


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#20 Myk Rian

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Posted 20 April 2019 - 09:04 AM



Is there nothing in the greater Detroit metro area any longer? Does one have to go to Ann Arbor to find one?

There is the Ford Amateur Astronomy Club based in Dearborn, plus a few more in the area.


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#21 Garyth64

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Posted 20 April 2019 - 10:43 AM

 . . . and all the clubs do many public outreach events, plus their monthly viewing nights.


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#22 starman876

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Posted 25 April 2019 - 02:02 PM

To belong to a classic club is it required to have an original classic with no modifications?



#23 licata

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Posted 25 April 2019 - 05:24 PM

To belong to a classic club is it required to have an original classic with no modifications?

Clay made this post regarding a now disbanded astronomy club  from the Detroit area that some CN'ers have been researching. As far as "classic scope clubs" go, there are none that I know of here in Michigan but I wish there were. Clay, maybe we need to start one.


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#24 TSSClay

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Posted 26 April 2019 - 06:18 AM

At least a special interest group! 

 

Barry called and he has another box of records so the search continues.  I may still find some reference to the builder of the RKMT.

 

Clay


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#25 TOM KIEHL

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Posted 26 April 2019 - 07:31 AM

 search continues.  I may still find some reference to the builder of the RKMT.

 

Clay

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