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Incognito Japanese 60mm scope

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#1 memento

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Posted 25 November 2020 - 01:14 PM

It's that part of the year again: I bought a telescope even though I did not intend to. So, something has to go soon as I'm not a collector, but strictly following a 1-in-1-out strategy.

 

 

Just drove to the vendor. A super nice and friendly old man. He got the scope from a friend who was a teacher, and that teacher was working at a school here in the area in a small city called Hennef, close to Cologne, where this scope originally was purchased as a "school telescope".

 

The scope survived in a pretty good shape because, even though it was a school scope, it apparently was never really stored in the school, but always well-kept by the teacher. The guy who sold it to me now was very serious to point out that one of the four original eyepieces went missing and that he was so sorry that he could not help there. Maybe that explains how much care so far went into helping this thing survive. (On the other hand, I believe it actually was only delivered with three eyepieces! – More on that later in this thread ...)

 

On the other hand he also said, that he really needs to get rid of some of his more "bulky" stuff soon, so he was happy someone picked it up finally, and it did not end up in trash ...

 

Anyway. Here's the box:

 

IMG_1202s.jpg

 

Opened. Some of the styrofoam stuff went missing, so there was also some bubble wrap and other foam pieces inside to help store all the pieces safely:

 

IMG_1204s.jpg

 

Here's the eyepieces and diagonal. I take it all these are the original items that came with the scope. 

 

IMG_1206s.jpg

 

Now it's time to set it up and I hope I can get a glimpse of the Moon today, at least!

 

cheers,

Thomas

 

 


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#2 Piggyback

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Posted 25 November 2020 - 01:28 PM

Nice! More details, please. 


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#3 BlueTrane2028

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Posted 25 November 2020 - 01:46 PM

I'm guessing your scope probably also came with an H20 when new, which would be the missing eyepiece.

I intend to play with my 60mm refractor tomorrow night at my parents house, where it lives.

Looks like the eyepieces with yours are all .965.  I got a diagonal for mine (which is also .965) that converts up to 1.25", allowing me to use modern 1.25" eyepieces.  I mostly use Plossls with it, as vignetting is definitely a thing looking through a .965 drawtube.  Keeping it narrow also keeps that nostalgic view I had as a child, although my current Plossls, cheap as they are, destroy my old .965 eyepieces in clarity.  So much so that I actually sold most of them off when I sold a different scope that only took .965 eyepieces.  May as well drop what you don't use...  I'd sell the scope entirely if it wasn't for the fact that it was a Christmas gift about 25 years ago.  My parents didn't have much, this department store Simmons represents a sacrifice they made for me, and I will not sell it for that reason.  Doesn't mean I can't optimize it, though.

You didn't show manufacturer info in the post, if it's quality and gives you good views, then definitely keep.  Not sure I'd sell the scopes you have in your signature line for it, though, unless the quality is simply absurd.


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#4 memento

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Posted 25 November 2020 - 02:19 PM

The scope is a 60/910 refractor on an EQ mount. I just set it up. Only small parts are missing (a few washers, the screw that secures the counterweight against dropping off the bar).

 

I really hate the looks and also the somewhat wobbly feel of these metal legs, even though the clamping mechanism to adjust height really works well. I also don't exactly understand why this setup is more wobbly than a wooden tripod yet, as the legs itself seem pretty sturdy to me:

 

_DSF4645.jpg

 

A closer look:

 

_DSF4646.jpg

 

The finder is an all-metal 6x30. I'm quite curious as to how good it works. It does not look bad at all!

 

_DSF4649.jpg


Edited by memento, 25 November 2020 - 02:31 PM.

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#5 memento

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Posted 25 November 2020 - 02:32 PM

Keeping it narrow also keeps that nostalgic view I had as a child, although my current Plossls, cheap as they are, destroy my old .965 eyepieces in clarity.  So much so that I actually sold most of them off when I sold a different scope that only took .965 eyepieces.  May as well drop what you don't use...  I'd sell the scope entirely if it wasn't for the fact that it was a Christmas gift about 25 years ago.  My parents didn't have much, this department store Simmons represents a sacrifice they made for me, and I will not sell it for that reason.  Doesn't mean I can't optimize it, though.

Wow, that's a nice story. Such a scope cannot be sold yes!

 

 

There's this piece of paper glued to the lid of the box:

 

IMG_1203s.jpg

 

Because of this sticker I do know now what scope it is, because some other collector in Germany has the very same scope. I can even date it to the mid 1960s. Here's his website about it:

 

http://www.amateuras...60910/index.htm

 

So the scope was apparently sold as a "Denkar AE-61" in the mid-1960s. I have still no real idea about that name. Anyway, it's a SYW / Yamamato-made scope. It is the same as a Mayflower 815, even though the mount base and spindly metal legs are different.

 

I don't think there ever was a fourth eyepiece. It is not mentioned on that list on the lid! There are only three eyepieces listed there. Weird though that the widest eyepiece would be a 12.5mm.

 

By the way, the scope can be used with all 1 1/4 accessories cause it has a wide drawtube with the common 36.4mm Vixen thread.

 

_DSF4647.jpg

 

This is the lens cell / dew shield arrangement:

 

_DSF4650.jpg


Edited by memento, 25 November 2020 - 02:33 PM.

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#6 memento

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Posted 25 November 2020 - 02:39 PM

The mount. It seems very solid overall even though I notice some small mechanical play in the RA axis and have no real clue what could be the cause. It is clearly more solid than my Dai-Ishi Kogaku 60/910 eq mount.

 

_DSF4651.jpg

 

I just had a very short glimpse at the moon, seeing over here is not good in the city. The scope optics seem to be very good though so far. And that before I even attempted any cleaning!

 

I'm not going to replace any of my other scopes with this. The main reason I picked it up was that the vendor said he would never ever ship it, and he didn't get a lot of requests from others, and at some point he'd be just forced to get rid of the scope. So I figured I can have some fun with it and then pass it on to another amateur astronomer, or sell my small Dai-Ichi Kogaku and keep this.


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#7 Piggyback

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Posted 25 November 2020 - 04:18 PM

As was mentioned before, the standard metal legs are a pain. Wooden tripod will help improve stability and shock absorbency. Should be easy to find a suitable one.


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#8 Bowlerhat

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Posted 25 November 2020 - 05:17 PM

As was mentioned before, the standard metal legs are a pain. Wooden tripod will help improve stability and shock absorbency. Should be easy to find a suitable one.

Might need to make a custom modification. usually the hinge with wooden tripods are much wider, but this one is pretty thin. And I wonder if the holes are too small compared to the usual wooden ones as well.

 

The legs are pretty sturdy but seems the gap is rather wide


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#9 wfj

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Posted 25 November 2020 - 05:21 PM

I don't think there ever was a fourth eyepiece. It is not mentioned on that list on the lid! There are only three eyepieces listed there. Weird though that the widest eyepiece would be a 12.5mm.

Likely this was a volume purchase for distribution to schools, from an intermediary who was able to reduce net costs from manufacturer by having fewer eyepieces, and since the point of the scope was likely moon and planets, the low power eyepiece was the one chosen to be missed.


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#10 Paul Sweeney

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Posted 26 November 2020 - 12:48 AM

Nice find!

Both of my Tasco 9Ts came with 12.5s as the low power eyepiece. Your scope looks similar to the Apollo 60/900, and it came with a nice 35mm eyepiece.
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#11 Kasmos

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Posted 26 November 2020 - 02:25 AM

waytogo.gif Good catch even if it's only temporary.

I was thinking a possible SYW from the ad. The first clue was the shape of the finder bracket and the focuser and knobs, but they were kind of hard to see in the photos. I suppose being a school scope they didn't have a need to badge them. BTW, I think you'll like the feel of the focuser.


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#12 Peter_D

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Posted 26 November 2020 - 04:14 AM

Cool scope - I like the glittery, dappled effect on the ota. Hennef is a nice town, a bit further out from Cologne and Bonn so the light pollution is a little better I would imagine.
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#13 memento

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Posted 26 November 2020 - 05:52 AM

I made a comment above that there is some backlash or mechanical play in the RA axis. Well where was my head when I was writing that smile.gif It's not in RA, that's perfectly fine. It's in DEC. And the play is where the top part of the mount with the tube ring is attached to the mount. Maybe I can fix that. There's a screw at the side where the fine-adjustment mechanism is fitted, as it looks to me, that screw could be the key to fix the play. But it is rock solid. The screw head has a huge diameter and needs a truly massive screwdriver.

 

Apart from that, the mount seems very stable. One minor niggle is that there is no setting circle for the polar alignment.

 

Also, at some point one of the handles was replaced by a weird huge-diameter plastic ring. Maybe the teacher thought that would be more nice to fine-adjust in RA:

 

IMG_1211.JPG

 

Of course the original handle would be much nicer:

 

IMG_1210.JPG

 

Surely I could just get some other handles so they both match, but the only real fix is to find another original one. But these might be made from unobtainium. So I'll leave it as is, maybe it's a fun part of the history of being a school telescope.

 

I also have to remove some small play from the focuser. There are three stripes around the drawtube that are supposed to do that but maybe some additional self-adhesive tape can take care of that.

 

After the fix to the mount play and the focuser, and adding a stop screw to the counterweight bar (I have to get to the hardware store), the scope is perfectly usable as-is. I even hesitate to take out the lens at all. It's not perfectly clean but it does look clean enough to me.

 

Adding wooden legs is maybe not that easy as Bowlerhat already pointed out. Also the whole mount base is an integral part with the leg fittings cast to it. I tend to leave everything as-is here as I don't see any good non-reversible way to modify this to wooden legs.

 

As for the future of this scope: I do absolutely love the looks through this 60/910. Yesterday night I had it on the Moon and also briefly on Mars, sadly bad seeing so I didn't go further than 9mm. The esthetics of looks are a vast difference to the Vixen 90M with its clearly visible color error. The lens seems very good and the tube and finder are of a much better manufacturing quality than the Dai-Ichi Kogaku 60/910 even though I still prefer that scope's mount (both axis with fully geared fine adjustment) and wooden tripod. 

 

I am somewhat tempted to give all my three current classic refractors (this, the Vixen and the Dai-Ichi Kogaku) a new home and replace them with just one 80/1200 ... which would then either be either a Towa or a Vixen.


Edited by memento, 26 November 2020 - 07:14 AM.

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#14 oldmanastro

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Posted 26 November 2020 - 09:46 AM

This telescope has similarities to the Towa 60mm f/15 equatorial but there are many details that point to a much higher quality instrument. The focuser and the mount are two of those details. Metal tripod legs started to appear in the mid to late 60s. Maybe this can date the telescope a bit. The included accessories are the typical for Japanese refractors of that era. It is a fine looking scope. Congratulations on the acquisition.


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#15 memento

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Posted 26 November 2020 - 12:26 PM

I am not sure if I already posted that link:

 

http://www.amateuras...60910/index.htm

 

While the text is German, you can see many more pics of a scope that is identical to mine.

 

The most interesting is the pic of that equipment list that is glued to the inside of the box, and was signed by someone with a date, so we know that that scope was presumably new in 1965. So my scope also should be from around that time. Maybe (as someone suggested further above) there was a program where several schools were equipped with scopes, so they all date back to that exact year.

 

Thre is also a picture of a sticker on the focuser. It's not one of those little metal foil pieces that you so often find on focusers, but seems more just a printed paper sticker. That maybe explains why this could get lost on my scope, leaving no traces whatsoever of the actual manufacturer.


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#16 Senex Bibax

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Posted 26 November 2020 - 12:50 PM

Very nice. It looks very similar to my 60mm x 910mm "Polaroscope" refractor from around 1960. The focusser is almost identical (mine is Carton, and the cover plate over the pinion has the diamond C.O.C logo. The mount has some similarities but is not the same. Are there any markings on the objective?

 

I wouldn't be surprised if the focusser tube will accept a Vixen 1.25" screw-in adapter.



#17 memento

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Posted 28 November 2020 - 02:44 PM

I wouldn't be surprised if the focusser tube will accept a Vixen 1.25" screw-in adapter.

Yes it does accept it, no problem whatsoever to use 1.25" accessories at all with this scope!

 

The three original eyepieces are also not that bad, they have all-metal barrels and a nice finish. But of course the eye relief is extremely small and as it is a 60mm f/15, you don't need the slight false-color-correcting effect of Huygens eyepieces with this scope anyway. They would need a thorough clean but frankly with so small lenses and pieces I'm not sure if I could do that in a good way myself. And I'm not going to use these eyepieces anyway so I will keep them as-is.




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