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Back in 1966, with $300 to work with?

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#1 grif 678

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Posted 06 January 2021 - 01:24 PM

Pretend you could go back to 1966, and you were 16 years old, and were given $300 to spend as you like on a telescope, what would you buy. I would have to say I would buy the 3 inch unitron on the altaz mount. The 76mm Sears would also be a good choice, but I do not prefer equatorial mounts, like the easy to use altaz ones much better. Being only 16 years old, I would probably stay out all night, night after night, with a scope like that in my hands.


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#2 mrlovt

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Posted 06 January 2021 - 01:44 PM

An RV-6 for me:

criterion Rv6 1960

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#3 pyrasanth

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Posted 06 January 2021 - 02:01 PM

I bought a Dynamax 8 in the MID 70's from Criterion. They were based in Hartford and I had the instrument exported to the UK. Fond memories indeed. I remember all the old adverts that used to have me drooling but I was never able to afford the majority of them. I even had a quote from Celestron for a 22" SCT which came out at 55K- which was a lot in the mid 70's- that instrument was totally unrealistic for me but I guess we all have dreams.


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#4 DLuders

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Posted 06 January 2021 - 02:36 PM

A 4" Edmund Scientific Refractor for $247:

 

Refractors from 1968 Edmund Catalog.jpg

 


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#5 TOMDEY

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Posted 06 January 2021 - 03:03 PM

I sure drooled over those ads.

 

When I was ten... I was saving up my share of my paper route money for 1) my own baseball glove 2) a pathetic little telescope. I showed mom my cash hoard and she convinced me to buy shoes, instead. I would have happily gone barefoot with a telescope, but that was not to be. On the bright side, I learned to make telescopes from scratch (literally), all while wearing nice new shoes. The rest is history. Worked out well. Mom was both pragmatic and wise. Out of the ghetto, into the military, college on the GI Bill, industry, and able to afford big telescopes! Took awhile, and well worth it!   Tom


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#6 photiost

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Posted 06 January 2021 - 03:10 PM

You really cant go wrong with the 6in or 8in Dynascope .... or the Edmund 4in refractor !!  


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#7 starman876

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Posted 06 January 2021 - 03:42 PM

I could buy a a 6 year old Cadillac in 1966 with $300.   and them put the classic Unitron I just bought new for $300 in it.


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#8 Bonco2

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Posted 06 January 2021 - 04:10 PM

I made my choice in the early 60's. Looked and drooled at every ad being published. RV6 was my choice and it was the perfect choice for me.

Bill


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#9 Bomber Bob

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Posted 06 January 2021 - 04:46 PM

I was a Refractor Snob at that age, so no RV-6.  I thought the Edmund scopes looked clunky, so no 4" F15 Refractor.  With $300, I would've bought one of the Japan-made 76mm F15 refractors.  Not a bad choice, just an uninformed [OK, ignorant] purchase...


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#10 Mike E.

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Posted 06 January 2021 - 04:49 PM

In 1966 three hundred dollars would have been a month's earnings for my Dad. I started my interest in Astronomy the previous year after seeing a fireball cross the sky from horizon to horizon. Sears in Glendale California was a regular stop for shopping with my parents, and I always had the catalogue wish book to look through, and it was usually guitar and telescope pages which had the most dog eared pages, lol.

 

I remember dreaming about the big 3" refractor, an impossible reality for me during the 1960's. Fast forward to the late 1970's, and while stopping at a yard sale to look at a camping lantern I spotted from the road ( still have it ) I noticed a wooden box, and my heart skipped a beat. Yes, it was a Sears 76mm Refractor, and in mint condition. I couldn't believe my luck, or the price, and it was mine in another heartbeat. smile.png 

 

The 6339-A Royal Astro was my main scope until 2010, and a couple of years ago I gave it to a good friend, who I'm confident will enjoy and take care of it as I have.

.

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#11 clamchip

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Posted 06 January 2021 - 06:34 PM

It would have been the Edmund 4 inch f/15 for me too.

With $53 dollars left over for candy and ice cream !

 

Robert


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#12 mdowns

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Posted 06 January 2021 - 07:24 PM

In 1966 I could have bought a 5"f5 lens and cell,tube,focuser and gem from Jaegers for 300 bucks.I actually did that build in 1969 though I went with the edmund gem on a tall wood tripod all for a little bit closer to 400 then.


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#13 rcwolpert

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Posted 06 January 2021 - 08:15 PM

An RV-6 for me:

In 1964 with $200 in hand, it was the RV-6 for me. I figured it gave me the best bang for the buck. I was right. In 1966 when I was a Junior in High School I would have made the same decision.


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#14 Paul Hyndman

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Posted 06 January 2021 - 08:26 PM

In 1966 I turned seventeen and had already sold my 6"/f8 ATM scope built several years earlier, Goodbye scope, hello new-to-me motorcycle (CB77 Honda 305 Super Hawk). My best friend had an easier route, his parents buying him an RV6 in lieu of having to squander a summer dancing around a 55 gallon drum grinding and polishing... such is life (he got a Firebird convertible as a graduation present, yours truly worked his tail off to buy a used VW bug).

 

While the RV6 was sweet, it couldn't squelch the pride of my "rolled-my-own". One of my fondest memories though was when I was about 10, and an old geezer (younger than I am now) at a public observing party had a 3 inch-ish refractor trained on Saturn... man, if I wasn't already hooked, I was then!


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#15 JIMZ7

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Posted 06 January 2021 - 08:54 PM

A 4" Edmund Scientific Refractor for $247:

 

attachicon.gifRefractors from 1968 Edmund Catalog.jpg

Purchased the 3" for $125. The inside was flocked black. Fantastic 75mm optics. Read somewhere the glass was from Nikon. Don't remember seeing CA on Venus or Vega. Should have purchased the 4" but the 3" had the sharpest images of anything I owned from 70mm -80mm. Probably close to 10 scopes in that range.

Jim


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#16 ccwemyss

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Posted 06 January 2021 - 11:03 PM

A 4" Edmund Scientific Refractor for $247:

 

attachicon.gifRefractors from 1968 Edmund Catalog.jpg

Note that with the clock drive it was $296.50, so still under budget. I bought the 4.25" reflector for $84.50, and drooled over the 6" at $199. Unfortunately, the 8", and $389, is beyond the budget. I'd had such a bad experience with my 60mm Tasco that I was soured on refractors. But, with what I know now, and a $300 telescope budget, I would definitely have gone for the 4" (with the drive). 

 

Chip W. 


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#17 clamchip

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Posted 06 January 2021 - 11:11 PM

You know I don't think I ever noticed that, you are right the drive was extra (small print) I was so mesmerized

by the telescope itself.

 

Robert



#18 mrlovt

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Posted 06 January 2021 - 11:43 PM

In 1964 with $200 in hand, it was the RV-6 for me. I figured it gave me the best bang for the buck. I was right. In 1966 when I was a Junior in High School I would have made the same decision.

I wasn't born until the mid-70's, so a trip back to '66 would have taken some time travel.  Still, I've loved my RV-6 from the first time I saw it, I guess that was about 1990.  I'd be proud to own any of the scopes mentioned in this thread.  =)


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#19 RichA

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Posted 07 January 2021 - 01:56 AM

Pretend you could go back to 1966, and you were 16 years old, and were given $300 to spend as you like on a telescope, what would you buy. I would have to say I would buy the 3 inch unitron on the altaz mount. The 76mm Sears would also be a good choice, but I do not prefer equatorial mounts, like the easy to use altaz ones much better. Being only 16 years old, I would probably stay out all night, night after night, with a scope like that in my hands.

You'd get mostly small-fry telescopes back then.  $300 then is $2400 now.  THINK of what you can buy now with $2400.  A 16 inch Newtonian Dob, a good 5 inch apo, a 9.25" or 10" SCT.  People were not better-off  then except for the fact they didn't have to devote 20% of their income to electronic junk like phones and (inevitably) the service costs for them all.



#20 CHASLX200

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Posted 07 January 2021 - 06:32 AM

I was only 3 then.



#21 oldmanastro

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Posted 07 January 2021 - 08:48 AM

In 1966 I was 13 years old and cannot even imagine having $300 at hand. If by some miracle I had been given access to this substantial amount, it would have ended in my always favorite store, Sears. My dream telescope, the Sears 6336 pedestal mounted 76mm refractor was $299.99. At that time I was convinced about refractors being the best of the telescope types. The Sears telescope that I already had in 1966 included a book and on one of the chapters there was a comparison between refractors and reflectors. It was biased toward refractors but then Sears sold mainly refractors at that time. Even after owning reflecting scopes, I am still biased toward refractors especially classic ones. The Sears 6336 finally landed here (thanks again Barry!) after 54 years. That $300 in 1966 would have been more than my father's monthly earnings.

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#22 Defenderslideguitar

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Posted 07 January 2021 - 08:13 PM

Good question.....In 1966 I was 8 turning 9 and the 60mm Tasco was certainly good enough. Looking back from early 2021, I say plus one for the Edmund 4 inch refractor but in 1966 it would have been too big for me and with parents who played and taught music the 29.99 for the Tasco was it....The bigger telescopes of our dreams were conspicuous in the ubiquitous Sears catalogue

 

If I was 16 a Fender Stratocaster and an  old Chevy would have competed for my small savings.

Guido     we are so happy that Sears 6336 is where it belongs in your hands forever.... nice pic   My wife Diane just said it is so nice that you appreciate it


Edited by Defenderslideguitar, 07 January 2021 - 08:19 PM.

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#23 Vesper818

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Posted 07 January 2021 - 08:30 PM

In 1966, I was 9 years old. With 6 sisters and one on the way, I would have given the 300 to my folks....

#24 Starsareus

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Posted 07 January 2021 - 09:25 PM

1966 I graduated High School and had to save for College! I thought, being one of 6 kids, I was very lucky ! I did mowing jobs/papers. Any money went for tuition. But no matter. I made a 6" f/12 Newtonian for a Jr. High Science Fair. Long tube with Criterion mirrors and a mount weighing twice my weight.  My Dad had to help me carry it into school ( used 2 by 4s & 2 by 6 boards etc.). Great views, but had to use my Radio Flyer Wagon to heft the mount out back.  


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#25 starman876

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Posted 07 January 2021 - 09:33 PM

in 1966 I was in US Air Force.   My first assignment was in northern Vermont on top of a mountain manning the early warning radar station.   The nights skies there were unbelievable.   I had  a wonderful 60mm scope that revealed so much in those xtal clear dark skies.  Sometimes I just laid on top of the van and experienced more stars than I ever have seen.   The northern lights were breath taking.  An RV6 on top of that mountain would have been the most wonderful.  


Edited by starman876, 07 January 2021 - 09:34 PM.

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