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Refractors source country

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#1 MidniteCowboy

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Posted 15 May 2020 - 06:19 PM

Hello.  I'm pretty sensitive to where items I purchase are made. EG All my cars are American, my camera gear all made in Japan or Thailand.  I just purchased a Losmandy which is, as I understand it, is made in USA.  Now I'm in the market for a good refractor (not TOO good) something like this: Orion EON 115mm ED Triplet.  But I know that is made in China.  Stellarvue I know makes some of it's scopes here in California.

 

But I'm wondering who knows which other refractors are made here in the good old USA? Thanks.

 


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#2 lynnelkriver

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Posted 15 May 2020 - 06:23 PM

I believe that TEC (Telescope Engineering Company) out of Colorado is all from USA.  Scott



#3 lynnelkriver

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Posted 15 May 2020 - 06:24 PM

Can't forget good old Astro-Physics!  Scott



#4 sunnyday

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Posted 15 May 2020 - 06:26 PM

what is your budget ?



#5 Eric P

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Posted 15 May 2020 - 06:26 PM

I thought that Stellarvue sourced its lenses from Taiwan.


Edited by Eric P, 15 May 2020 - 06:28 PM.


#6 Ken Sturrock

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Posted 15 May 2020 - 06:42 PM

It's murky and, like most products, the lower cost something is the more likely it will be imported from a country with a lower cost for production. Companies like TEC, Astro-Physics and Agema, Televue (maybe others) build refractors in the United States. Other companies use some foreign components and others have a mixed-source lineup depending on cost (like Stellarvue, at least in the past). There are also companies in Europe as well as Japan. Most of the lower cost instruments, however, are made in China or, maybe, Taiwan with some or all Chinese components.


Edited by Ken Sturrock, 15 May 2020 - 10:40 PM.


#7 petert913

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Posted 15 May 2020 - 06:52 PM

 

I thought that Stellarvue sourced its lenses from Taiwan.

Not their high end scopes.  They produce the lenses in Calif.



#8 SeattleScott

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Posted 15 May 2020 - 06:58 PM

There aren’t any “affordable” refractors made in the US.

Scott
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#9 scadvice

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Posted 15 May 2020 - 07:13 PM

Stellarvue, as of about six months ago, only makes and sells their own optic's. These are made in Auburn, California. Prior to that the last imported optic's they sold were the Access Doublets. These were phased out in order to allow more time to concentrate their own optic's grinding and production.

 

Which Orion EON 115mm ED Triplet are you looking at? They have different glass/optic's setups that can very vary from $1500 to $3000. It would be interesting to know the Strehl for the different ones.

 

I have the Stellarvue AVS130T they sell complete for 5K but you can add optional focusers. Mine has a FeatherTouch however I think their own focuser is excellent too.


Edited by scadvice, 15 May 2020 - 10:09 PM.

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#10 stevew

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Posted 15 May 2020 - 07:31 PM

Are there any optical glass manufacturers in the USA?


Edited by stevew, 15 May 2020 - 11:42 PM.


#11 OldManSky

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Posted 15 May 2020 - 07:38 PM

Not their high end scopes.  They produce the lenses in Calif.

...from Chinese (either mainland or Taiwan) and/or Japanese glass. :)

AFAIK, there aren't any high-quality glass manufacturers in the US that produce glass for telescope use.  So those US manufacturers who grind/polish their own lenses buy from overseas, either Germany, China/Taiwan, or Japan.

That's not a knock against any of them...


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#12 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 15 May 2020 - 07:47 PM

TeleVue uses optics designed in the US and manufactured in Japan. The rest of the scope is manufactured in the US and assembled and tested at their factory in New York state.

 

Jon


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#13 scadvice

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Posted 15 May 2020 - 08:01 PM

...from Chinese (either mainland or Taiwan) and/or Japanese glass. smile.gif

AFAIK, there aren't any high-quality glass manufacturers in the US that produce glass for telescope use.  So those US manufacturers who grind/polish their own lenses buy from overseas, either Germany, China/Taiwan, or Japan.

That's not a knock against any of them...

Stellarvue uses Ohara glass which I believe is US made. 


Edited by scadvice, 15 May 2020 - 08:01 PM.

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#14 Ken Sturrock

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Posted 15 May 2020 - 08:51 PM

Stellarvue uses Ohara glass which I believe is US made. 

Ohara is a Japanese owned company with production facilities around the world. Most of the optical glass seems to come from Japan. Good stuff wink.gif


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#15 Chuck2

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Posted 15 May 2020 - 08:53 PM

Ohara has offices in the USA, but their glass is manufactured in Japan.

 

FPL-53 ‘Super ED’ or ‘FD’ glass made by Ohara in Japan with an Abbe Number of 94.94

FPL-51 ED glass made by Ohara in Japan with an Abbe Number of 81.54

 

My Stellareview has FPL-53 glass listed on the lens cell, same as noted on their website.


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#16 scadvice

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Posted 15 May 2020 - 10:04 PM

I stand corrected...get-em.gif


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#17 MarkGregory

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Posted 16 May 2020 - 03:14 AM

Good luck trying to find a scope and ALL parts made in the USA. The world is very small place  these days and most manufacturers have some parts sourced from overseas. Wondering, you said you are particular about buying your products from the USA only. What kind of cell phone do you use? 


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#18 marcus_z

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Posted 16 May 2020 - 04:22 AM

I work for a company which produces "German" cars, produced in Germany, Mexico, Hungary, Slovakia. Furthermore, the company produces knock-down cars which are finally assembled in China and India, so officially made in China and India. The parts, these cars are made of, are from are from almost all countries all over the world. So the parts of a single car traveled around the world before the car drove a single mile. If you believe your car was made in the US, have a look at the stamps of its parts 😉

Edited by marcus_z, 16 May 2020 - 04:41 AM.

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#19 jrbarnett

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Posted 16 May 2020 - 11:52 AM

Hello.  I'm pretty sensitive to where items I purchase are made. EG All my cars are American, my camera gear all made in Japan or Thailand.  I just purchased a Losmandy which is, as I understand it, is made in USA.  Now I'm in the market for a good refractor (not TOO good) something like this: Orion EON 115mm ED Triplet.  But I know that is made in China.  Stellarvue I know makes some of it's scopes here in California.

 

But I'm wondering who knows which other refractors are made here in the good old USA? Thanks.

You mean the BRAND on your cars is American.  There are no 100% American cars.  Most American branded models for the last 20 or so years have used very large percentages of non-US made parts, and in many cases, not even "final assembly" happens in the US.  Ironically Honda, Toyota and Subaru models assembled in the US often use far more "American made" content than anything bearing an American brand.

 

It's not easy to actually know where ANY manufactured item is actually made at the materials, components and even sub-assemblies level; Japanese branded cameras are often loaded with Chinese-made components, included optics, no matter where the "made-in" label says.

 

Not even bespoke TEC or A-P high end US-made refractors or Televue's more broadly available refractors  (the latter bearing a little foil "Made in USA" sticker  with a three color old glory in the background), are entirely of US made content.  The fluorite and/or fancy optical glasses, metals and attachment hardware used, paint, etc., are generally NOT of US origin.  In Televue's case the tube assemblies are assembled here, but the materials used to make the tubes likely don't originate here.  The optics are made by a company called Lens Pro in Japan out of Japanese and Chinese made components, and then shipped to and installed in the tube assemblies by Televue.     

 

In a global economy as we have had for decades the concept of "made in" is anachronistic to be honest.  As often as not when you put too much faith in country of origin marketing, you are being mislead and end up paying more for something that you've been hoodwinked into assuming but is not actually true.  I wish there was a "domestic jobs quotient" instead where a manufacture good bears a number calculated using a standard formula to indicate what percentage of the LABOR that went into putting an item on the shelf was domestic, but even that would be misleading with our unions and labor regulations, our workers tend to be more highly compensated than their peers in other places, so you couldn't use cost as your basis.  Instead I think it would have to be based on time.  How many hours of human labor went into production, and of those hours how many were contributed by domestic labor.  But even that would be only a rough proxy.  Some workers are more productive per unit of time than others.

 

As a result I generally ignore jingoist marketing ploys using "made in" themes.  My 2013 Ram pickup was "imported from Detroit" per MOPAR's advertising at the time, and on the owner's manual it says "Guts, Glory, RAM!" (yee haw!), but almost all of the metal used in the truck was made in China, the transmission was manufactured by ZF in Germany (thanks Daimler!) though likely out of many non-German components, under US law MOPAR was forced to admit on the sticker that 1/3 of the "content" was "hecho in Mexico", most of the wire and small electronic components used in larger electronic systems are Chinese and those electronc systems themselves assembled in Japan, China or SE Asia, etc.  MOPAR's silly, ethnocentric marketing was not a motivating factor in my purchase and in fact might have been a slight detriment in my decision - I don't want people who understand present-day economics to think I was suckered - so with the truck as with all other purchases I bought the truck based solely on price and the degree to which the vehicle had the features I wanted/needed for my intended use (primarily outdoor recreational).

 

My advice - in telescopes and trucks anyway - ignore country of origin marketing "noise" and buy based on price/features/reliability/long term cost of ownership/value retention.  A great way to figure out quickly what to buy is to look at what an item costs new and what it sells for used a couple of years old.  The aggregate experience of consumers in the marketplace tends to weed out fanboism and misplaced reliance on fanciful marketing passed off as fact.  Items that hold their value well are probably the best values irrespective of branding.  And honestly I think companies that deliver the best value deserve my business - "best" knows no borders.

 

Best,

 

Jim


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#20 jrbarnett

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Posted 16 May 2020 - 11:54 AM

I work for a company which produces "German" cars, produced in Germany, Mexico, Hungary, Slovakia. Furthermore, the company produces knock-down cars which are finally assembled in China and India, so officially made in China and India. The parts, these cars are made of, are from are from almost all countries all over the world. So the parts of a single car traveled around the world before the car drove a single mile. If you believe your car was made in the US, have a look at the stamps of its parts

Yeah, and you guys probably use my company's or a French company's software design tools to design and assemble those "German" cars.

 

Globalism is a reality.  As a consumer, best to understand that and buy based on things that are more directly relevant to objectively measurable properties of the goods or services you buy.

 

Best,

 

Jim


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#21 jrbarnett

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Posted 16 May 2020 - 12:07 PM

Ohara is a Japanese owned company with production facilities around the world. Most of the optical glass seems to come from Japan. Good stuff wink.gif

They have sales offices around the world at any rate, including the US.  But manufacturing can be by Ohara owned subsidiaries in Japan, Thailand, Taiwan, or China, or even made under sub-contract by glass makers otherwise unrelated to Ohara (often in China).  Their Ohara group backgrounder shows that no production happens in the US - only sales.

 

https://www.oharacorp.com/group.html

 

I think most of their optical glass no longer comes from Japan to be honest.  Why melt an pour in Japan at a high cost when they can get objectively the same quality of glass for melted and poured elsewhere for less cost?

 

And here's another way to look at the social utility of "made in" concepts.  I'm a US manufacturer.  I have two options - make here at a high cost (high cost of living, high wage rates, lots of compliance costs, insurance costs, overhead costs, etc.) and sell at the price the market will bear at a lower margin/profit or make elsewhere at a lower cost, and receive a much higher margin/profit on the same item.  Sure, option 2 moves some jobs to other places, but also my lower margin on option 1 means the manufacturer retains much less to spend domestically on staying competitive, R&D, rewarding shareholders, etc., which costs other jobs domestically both directly and indirectly.

 

The binary nationalistic economic models used by politicians to win votes of the gullible are fantasy.  The reality is very complex and aspiring to simplistic fantasy is as likely to have the opposite jobs and economic growth effects than what is being suggested or promised.

 

Best,

 

Jim 


Edited by jrbarnett, 16 May 2020 - 12:08 PM.

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#22 NYJohn S

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Posted 16 May 2020 - 12:35 PM

If the goal is to support a US company but the budget in the price range of the Orion EON 115mm ED Triplet you could consider buying from our sponsor Astronomics. They are not made in the US but you'll be supporting a US company and their employees. Plus they keep this forum going. For the price the quality is very good. I have 2. One has FPL53 glass, so I guess Japanese glass assembled in a China, branded with a US company name and sold in the US. They have the AT115EDT. 


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#23 skybsd

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Posted 16 May 2020 - 12:45 PM

Hello.  I'm pretty sensitive to where items I purchase are made. EG All my cars are American, my camera gear all made in Japan or Thailand.  

... 

 

THIS again .., ohlord.gif ohlord.gif ohlord.gif

 

skybsd 



#24 Eigen

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Posted 16 May 2020 - 12:47 PM

Since your camera equipment is Japanese, Takahashi could be an option?

 

If avoiding "Made in China" is an objective I think this is a close as you can get, I believe they manufacture, cast, machine and grind everything in Japan. Only thing that they offer not made in Japan AFAIK are the Starlight focuser's that came on some TSA's and since those are Made in USA that shouldn't be an issue either.

 

Of course, keeping everything local comes at a price, accessories for one thing, which we are used to costing pennies on the dollar when mass machined in China end up being much more expensive than one would expect in this age of mass production (leading to much complaining). Some are willing to pay the price, some aren't, the stuff they put out is definitely no compromise in terms of quality though.

 

The higher end Vixen stuff is also manufactured in Japan.


Edited by Eigen, 16 May 2020 - 12:51 PM.


#25 mikeDnight

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Posted 16 May 2020 - 12:49 PM

Hello.  I'm pretty sensitive to where items I purchase are made. EG All my cars are American, my camera gear all made in Japan or Thailand.  I just purchased a Losmandy which is, as I understand it, is made in USA.  Now I'm in the market for a good refractor (not TOO good) something like this: Orion EON 115mm ED Triplet.  But I know that is made in China.  Stellarvue I know makes some of it's scopes here in California.

 

But I'm wondering who knows which other refractors are made here in the good old USA? Thanks.

So you're looking for a "not too good refractor made in the good old USA"?  I think you'll struggle with this one!  To be honest, most ED refractors are very good no matter where they originate, including China. If you want to something with an edge, then Japan and Germany immediately jump to mind. It's a big world beyond the USA, so take advantage of the wonderful things it has to offer. 


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