Hello fellow Classics addicts, I mean aficionados, I don’t post in the Finds often but this Early Unitron 114 (‘52, ‘53, ‘54?) deserves mentioning.
I want to first thank JRAGSDALE for posting the ad, and I am beyond grateful to the kindness, patience, and tremendous effort that D_talley generously put in to helping me acquire this beautiful Unitron kit. At the time that I reached out to Dwight about the Unitron, I was unaware of his health condition but now I am forever appreciative and honored to have gotten to know Dwight. A true classic gentleman. A thousand thanks Dwight.
On the 2021 Autumnal Equinox, a package arrived at our house. It contained two dusty weathered wood boxes. One was cedar and the other, mahogany. Dwight’s expert packing ensured everything arrived intact.
The cedar cabinet held the heavy duty alt-az mount and wood tripod. The cabinet has a very nice aroma, reminds me of a cigar store.
The well crafted mahogany cabinet housed the OTA with all chrome finder, homemade paper card board lens cover, brass dew shield, porro prism, cracked plastic star prism diagonal, and four brass eyepieces with utilitarian straight, etched type (H25, H18, Sym. Ach.9, & O6). And a classic bottle of Kodak lens cleaning fluid and Kodak lens paper. A time capsule.
The cabinets have markings on the bottom. Appears to be LAX (port of Los Angelos?) and 52 and 53 on the OTA and mount boxes respectively. Are these indicative of the export year? Inside the OTA cabinet is a pen inscription of April 1954. This is one of the reasons I like having the kits, a lot of clues and information may be part of those items.
I have taken the 114 out for quick views of Jupiter with no expectations knowing that the telescope has been stored for some time and unknown previous cleaning methodology. The views were dim and fuzzy. There is a ghost haze image (limb?) to the lower right of the objects. I will consider this to be due to lack of collimating since the focuser draw tube flops around.
I am enthralled with this telescope because is beautiful and well made, and because it it is the oldest telescope I have. I will treat it like an antique and take my time restoring it. Not to factory condition. Just clean and remove what doesn’t belong. My plans are to first gently purge the dust and cob webs. Clean the eyepieces and collimate the focuser draw tube. I do not want to disassemble the objective lens for cleaning. I hope and believe only the exterior surface may need attention. I will be closely following Kasmos’s Soligor thread since the telescopes are very similar.
Again, Dwight, I can’t express enough my sincere and deep appreciation for your kindness and effort in helping me with this acquisition. My warmest wishes to you and your Family.