I have a very early one that also lacks the spreader brackets. That's also how the tripod on my very early 142 works too. This argues for one of the first years of Unitron 114 production for this scope -- a rare bird!
As long as it's not on a hard, slick surface, the pointed tips dig in and keep the tripod stable. I never bother with the spreader for any of the other loaner scopes when I have them on grass. It only makes it harder to level the tripod.
I was just building a bracket for the tripod I'm using with the cobbled-together 114 Frankentron. A piece of 1" aluminum angle stock, cut to mimic the other two, and bent open at slightly more than 90*. But I still haven't put in a screw for the spreader.
While it's an older 114 it can't be an extremely early ('51-'54), model since it has the tube clamp type of mount that was annouced in August of '55.
I know we can't always trust the catalogs, but the '56 catalog shows it without a spreader and once again with that weird (prototype?), three ring tube clamp.
This and Jbslus' scope seems to suggest that the spreader came along a little after they were sending them out with the new mount. It might also explain his having the older finder.
The question might be, is his a standard for what a late year '55 model looks like? If so, that might push Terra's into '56 since hers has a spreader and a later style finder? The problem with this statement is that there's a very good chance, that like the mount, most of the changes we see didn't exactly coincide with the begining of each year. Because of this, if there's no dated paper work, I've always thought that all we can do is assign an estimate to a particular scope's age.
BTW, I noticed, like Keith's fixed saddle '54 (?) , Jbslus' has a red label in the lid of the box top. At some point they changed to blue with, I believe, a production or lot #.
Edited by Kasmos, 02 October 2020 - 04:44 AM.