I have one as well! Hmmm, what don't I have at LEAST one of? I would read the serial number of RAO telescopes as...
first digit year in 1960's. 6 would be 1966
second two digits aperture. 70 or 71 would be 76mm
last three digits sequence in the year.
I don't understand how changes in decades were indicated. I have never heard what the significance of the 70 or 71 is. I don't believe it is a decade change i.e. yours 1956 (70) mine 1968 (71). Stephen hopefully will have thoughts on that.
EDIT: I incorrectly was thinking my serial number for the Mayflower was 871734 but it is 770734. I had an RAO Sears that was 272XXX which was circa 1962. I have a Lafayette RAO that is 070XXX with a 1960 sales receipt. Another example is the Sears 6345 90mm. They are all 990XXX indication 1969 manufacture and I believe all (maybe 400) were offered in 1970. I had a few Tasco 10te scopes that I gave away or sold. I didn't record those serial numbers and have deleted the label photos from my library since losing them. Hopefully now some of you are as confused as I am.
Those are beautiful photos of the Mayflowers and boxes - makes me envious seeing them in such pristine shape. I have two Mayflowers (an 815 H.O.C. and 816 RAO) that are not in such good shape. Whenever I bring a telescope out, I make sure I have at least one of them out in part to compare to and because they are a true joy to use.
Thanks for sharing the serial number interpretation. My 816 serial number is 872021 I guess putting it as a 1966 manufacturer?. Perhaps the difference between 70-71-72 is whether RAO sold enough to warrant increasing the third digit. Too bad my 815 H.O.C. doesn't have a serial number to date
Any suggestions to touch up / repaint the tubes? I read white appliance spray paint can work.
Edited by Beastmaster, 21 July 2019 - 12:59 PM.