Great Article Augustus.
One problem I see with adults is the amount of spare time that we have seems to dwindling.
My Dad, and his "buddies" all worked about 40 minutes away and were strict 40 hr men.
Now the work week has expanded, and comutes are longer. I would love to grind my own
mirror, but no way do I have the time. I am waiting for my "golden" years to try my hand at it.
Also Asian Cheap Labor and amazing machines has turned the economics of telescope building upside down.
I remember 6 inch reflectors being Hundreds of 1970 Dollars. That was when a starting job paid $2.50 an hour.
Today, I can get a decent 6 inch mirror for $150.00 and starting wages are $10.00. This does
not apply just to telescopes. All sorts of manufactured goods can be had for nearly nothing.
Another thing changing in our Millieu is shipping. Over the past couple of decades shipping is becoming
increasingly expensive but also lightning fast. When I was a kid a stamp was 5 cents and the norm was wait
weeks for delivery. Now I can have boxes shipped from the West Coast to my home in 2 days, but at a price.
It now costs more to ship a cheap scope than its price to manufacture. The last scope I bought was $45+
to ship a refractor from Missouri to Illinois. Almost blew up the deal.
Raw materials use is also changing. The telescopes and appliances of yore were made of metal and wood.
That has been replaced by chip board and plastic. Cheaper to manufacture and ship. Low on durability.
Remember when a TV was a piece of furniture in a walnut cabinet?
The shipping / raw material changes are making me build more of my own mounts, which I find an
interesting challenge too. I was able to buy a 12 inch collasible dob tube only for a great price. The mount
was too heavy, and too big and not valuable enough to ship.