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Classic telescopes gotten at Christmas

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#1 grif 678

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Posted 13 November 2020 - 02:42 PM

Hi all

Seeing that the Classic Telescope Section is probably the most loved forum on CN, especially by us old timers that started in astronomy in the 60's or earlier, like to hear about any classic telescopes that you received at Christmas (and still have it ), instead of any that you bought in later years. The only scope that I received under the tree when young was a Gilbert 60X refractor. If you use age as a criteria, instead of quality, I guess the Gilbert would qualify. But I do not still have it, it kind of just vanished over the years, do not know what happened to it. Being poor on a farm in the 60's, I was proud of anything I got, especially a telescope. I know that many of you got much more better quality scopes than that Gilbert, and probably some of you may still have them.


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#2 jim kuhns

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Posted 13 November 2020 - 03:15 PM

Billy my first telescope was a Gilbert 80x reflector. Did not get the scope for
Christmas. The little scope vanished all so.
The telescope came In a zip up case. The lens were plastic , the finder a long
hollow metal tube, cardboard tube, on a simple mount.
Got my first look at M42 on a very windy night in late November of 1963.
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#3 photoracer18

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Posted 13 November 2020 - 03:25 PM

My first telescope was the classic Edmund 3" reflector I got while my dad and us were stationed in Alaska in 1958. Had that scope and mount all the way thru until I bought my own RV-6 in HS.


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#4 starman876

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Posted 13 November 2020 - 03:42 PM

My first scope was also a Gilbert 80mm.  I recently bought one that was in mint condition.  I still have a picture of me using the Gilbert when I was about 10 or 11.  


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#5 grif 678

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Posted 13 November 2020 - 04:29 PM

My first scope was also a Gilbert 80mm.  I recently bought one that was in mint condition.  I still have a picture of me using the Gilbert when I was about 10 or 11.  

I have been looking for another 60X Gilbert refractor, I do not think these were as numerous as the 80X reflectors were. You occasionally see the reflectors on ebay, but I have seen only one refractor over the years. If I could find one in mint condition, I would like to get it for nostalgic reasons. I remember taking mine to school one day, to use for the Science Club picture in our year book, I thought that was really something.


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#6 ccwemyss

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Posted 13 November 2020 - 07:40 PM

1966 Tasco 9TE-5, with the wobbly metal legs. It had a mount that sagged so much in altitude that my usual approach was to aim it so the object was outside of the field of view, and let it drift in. I got good enough at that to usually get something within 25% of centered. Of course, if it was an astronomical object, it drifted out soon after. I also got better at holding it steady with one hand, so it would stay in the view while trying to focus with the other. For all that effort, I was rewarded with copious amounts of purple fringe that taught me the meaning of chromatic aberration. 

 

I saved for two years to buy an Edmund 4.25" to replace it. It soured me on tripod-mounted refractors for 15 years, until I found myself selling Pentaxes (that I couldn't afford), at the telescope shop.

 

Chip W. 


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#7 brian dewelles

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Posted 13 November 2020 - 08:04 PM

Mine was an edmund 4.25 inch newtonian when i was in eighth grade. That fall i saved up 30.00 bucks and the scope i believe was 84.50. I gave my parents the money and they paid the diffrence. I had to wait for christmas though. The scope arrived about two weeks before the 25th. Three big boxes, FOB barrington.nj. To rochester ny. and grander than anything i had ever recieved. Every one was impressed, but i couldnt open it. I did talk my parents into letting me have the sam brown book and the plainisphere it came with. Christmas eve we walked to midnight mass, our parish was the cathedral parish and you could see the church from our backyard.

Bishop Sheen was our bishop at the time, very theatrical and dramatic so the homily made midnight mass last even longer.

My dad as usual skipped mass and set up the presents for when we got home, way past 1.00 am. And there it was under the tree. He left the assembly for me, he knew i'd want to do it myself. 

That got me hooked on telescopes, i used it through much of high school but eventually sold it for camera equipment. But i did get another palomar jr. Several years ago and still have it. Great memories!


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#8 Terra Nova

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Posted 13 November 2020 - 08:31 PM

I have been looking for another 60X Gilbert refractor, I do not think these were as numerous as the 80X reflectors were. You occasionally see the reflectors on ebay, but I have seen only one refractor over the years. If I could find one in mint condition, I would like to get it for nostalgic reasons. I remember taking mine to school one day, to use for the Science Club picture in our year book, I thought that was really something.

That would be this one? I had one in either late 1961 or late 1962. I thought it quite disappointing. In 1965 I got my Mayflower 814 (60x700). Thats the one that put me in my astronomy happy place! :)

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#9 grif 678

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Posted 13 November 2020 - 08:38 PM

Yes, Terra

That is the one. I know it is not a good scope, but when a kid, and was poor, you did not know any better. I just know that it did bring the moon closer, and the brightest stars seemed a little brighter. If I was to find a good, I would not use it now, just set it up and have it to look at and reminisce.


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#10 Defenderslideguitar

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Posted 13 November 2020 - 08:42 PM

First Telescope   Xmas 1964-65   Tasco 5vte   last of the wooden legs....?

There are a few pics of me  with it and a grainy 8mm film somewhere at my sister;s house

 

 

But It looked like this..............

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Edited by Defenderslideguitar, 13 November 2020 - 08:45 PM.

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#11 oldmanastro

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Posted 13 November 2020 - 09:05 PM

My first telescope was a Sears 60mm f/11 altazimuth mounted refractor from Christmas of 1965. It came with two .965" eyepieces, a 15mm Huygens and a 4mm Ramsden, a 2X Barlow and Moon plus Sun eyepiece filters. It has wooden legs and a nice accessory tray with a light operated by two AA batteries. The altazimuth mount has slow motion control in altitude. A book "The Telescope and the World of Astronomy was included with a one year subscription to the Review of Popular Astronomy. It was a nice package and the optics are ok. Best of all, I still have it with original accessories (except moon filter), book and all the issues of RPA that I received from that subscription and subsequent ones. After this telescope, there was no going back. 

 

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#12 ccwemyss

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Posted 13 November 2020 - 10:47 PM

Mine was an edmund 4.25 inch newtonian when i was in eighth grade. That fall i saved up 30.00 bucks and the scope i believe was 84.50. I gave my parents the money and they paid the diffrence. I had to wait for christmas though. The scope arrived about two weeks before the 25th. Three big boxes, FOB barrington.nj. To rochester ny. and grander than anything i had ever recieved. Every one was impressed, but i couldnt open it. I did talk my parents into letting me have the sam brown book and the plainisphere it came with. Christmas eve we walked to midnight mass, our parish was the cathedral parish and you could see the church from our backyard.

Bishop Sheen was our bishop at the time, very theatrical and dramatic so the homily made midnight mass last even longer.

My dad as usual skipped mass and set up the presents for when we got home, way past 1.00 am. And there it was under the tree. He left the assembly for me, he knew i'd want to do it myself. 

That got me hooked on telescopes, i used it through much of high school but eventually sold it for camera equipment. But i did get another palomar jr. Several years ago and still have it. Great memories!

Yep, $84.50. I still have the catalog from mine. I too sold mine while in college for camera equipment. But there is now one in the loaner set. I did a collimation on it this August, before sending it back out on loan, and the views were wonderful. The mount, however, was rather frustrating. Hard to get the tension right, so it can be moved without sticking.

 

I found it on CL, being sold by a fellow just a block away from me. Sadly, he passed away about a year later. I still walk by his house, with his flip-up roof observatory in the front yard, and feel the loss. Shortly before he died, I found out that he was also into recumbent trikes, and we had been talking about doing some riding together. I was still building my observatory, and he was going to come check it out when it was done. 

 

Chip W. 



#13 Kasmos

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Posted 14 November 2020 - 04:09 AM

Telescope wise I was kind of a late to the party as I was already a young adult when my parents gave me my Mayflower 814 for Xmas 1976.

Mayflower-Bro-76.jpg

This brochure has my dad's notes of the prices at Fedco (a Federal employees department store).

On the other side he wrote the price of the Polaroid SX70 they bought for my brother.

Mayflower814.jpg

Due to it's small size and convenience, still the most used telescope I have


Edited by Kasmos, 14 November 2020 - 04:25 AM.

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#14 Terra Nova

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Posted 14 November 2020 - 07:10 PM

Telescope wise I was kind of a late to the party as I was already a young adult when my parents gave me my Mayflower 814 for Xmas 1976.

attachicon.gifMayflower-Bro-76.jpg

This brochure has my dad's notes of the prices at Fedco (a Federal employees department store).

On the other side he wrote the price of the Polaroid SX70 they bought for my brother.

attachicon.gifMayflower814.jpg

Due to it's small size and convenience, still the most used telescope I have

Chris, my mom worked for the State and so she and my dad were members of Fedco as well. That’s where my folks bought my Mayflower 814 in October of 1965. I think it was $69.95 then.


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#15 jgraham

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Posted 14 November 2020 - 08:42 PM

Some of my earliest memories are of a 50mm Sears refractor that my dad bought in the late 1950s. I wore it out using it from about 1962 to 1967 or so. I then bought my own first telescope, a 40mm refractor for $9 from a pawn shop, and in 1968 I ground my first mirror; a 4.25" f/8, but I lacked the skills to finish the scope. I vividly recall the annual ritual of dreaming over the wonders in the Sears Wishbook, particularly the white tube wonders in the telescope section. In 1972 one in particular caught my imagination; the Sears branded Tasco 11T. That was the stuff that dreams were made of, my Red Ryder BB gun! Ohhh, my heart ached and dreams were made, but it was sooo expensive ($79.99). I'll never forget that Christmas. After all the presents were opened (I had 7 brothers and sisters, we made quite a mess), there was one tall box left over tucked away in the corner of the living room; sure enough, dreams do come true! That was indeed my dream scope. I saw Comet Kohoutek with it, spent many years using it to track asteroids, strapped cameras to it, and used it with my very first tests with a CCD camera in 1987. The poor thing eventually wore out and I lost track of the mount, but a few months ago I found the tube, lovingly tucked away in the corner of our garage. I refurbed it, added a set of rings and a Vixen rail, and I take my old friend out for some starlight when I get a chance on a shiny new modern mount.

 

My old 11T, painted green towards the end of its active service, now sporting a modern finder and eyepieces...

 

Tasco 11T (5-22-2020)-1.jpg

 

..and a newer (1984) Tasco 11TR lovingly refurbed, also with a modern finder and eyepieces as well as a nice set of Circle T 0.965s...

 

Tasco 11TR (12-7-2019)-2.jpg

 

 

Its a joy using these old scopes with the eyes and hands that have grown old with experience and appreciate for what these old scopes can do.

 

Enjoy!


Edited by jgraham, 14 November 2020 - 08:43 PM.

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#16 Garyth64

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Posted 15 November 2020 - 10:46 AM

For Christmas 1964, I received a Tasco 3TER.  My parents knew I had an interest in the night sky, as I got some books from the library, and I was trying to learn the constellations and the names of the bright stars.  I will never forget the first time I saw Jupiter and four of it's moons.  Jupiter was high in the sky at that time, and there was snow on the ground.  I used that telescope a lot and kept a journal of what I saw. Those little 3" mirrors were very good. 

 

That scope had a push-pull focuser and a wood tripod and it is similar to this scope that I purchased a few years ago:

 

Tasco 3TE R.jpg

 

-the label on the tube is actually the one from my original scope.

 

old ID tag.jpg


Edited by Garyth64, 15 November 2020 - 10:50 AM.

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