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Multi-Generational Classics

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#1 Stew44

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Posted 08 January 2021 - 07:41 PM

I had an interesting conversation with a friend concerning Classic telescope build quality regardless of country of manufacture and how it relates to use of a particular kit as it is handed down from family member to family member.  Optical quality not a part of that equation as there are some very inexpensive telescopes with simply excellent optics.  I have a few in my experience that fit the definition of multi-generational to me.  These would be any of the Questars, any of the Zeiss, any of the Nippon Kogakus from 50's and 60's.  Any of the Gotos except for the earliest Lira, Diana, 1" scopes, and Unitron, although maybe that takes a ding for optical quality.  Clark does fit the definition as I know people that observe regularly with them and they have already been through many owners.  They all combine superb build quality with excellent optics and you'd love for a son or daughter to get enthused about astronomy and hope to have that scope passed on to them.  When Japan ramped up production in the 50's, targeting the American Christmas Tree, telescopes flooded the US.  Which of these if any and of course any other American scopes or French and German scopes would you consider fitting the multi-generation definition such that you love a son or daughter or other family member to be excited about having you pass it along to them?

 

Haven't said it previously, but hope you all have a wonderful 2021 despite the challenges we're all facing daily no matter where you live.


Edited by Stew44, 08 January 2021 - 07:41 PM.

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#2 ccwemyss

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Posted 08 January 2021 - 09:28 PM

Definitely the Questar, because of the size, portability, and how pretty it is. Maybe the Pentax 85 if I last long enough to see either of them have their own kids and settle down. I would love to pass on my AP 6"f9, but realistically, I can't imagine either of them wanting to deal with anything that large. The loaner set will either get disbursed or passed on to another teacher when I retire. 

 

Chip W. 


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#3 Ken Sturrock

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Posted 08 January 2021 - 09:59 PM

Unitron, although maybe that takes a ding for optical quality.


Which of these if any and of course any other American scopes or French and German scopes would you consider fitting the multi-generation definition such that you love a son or daughter or other family member to be excited about having you pass it along to them?


Well, obviously the Unitron 142 that I bought from you!


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#4 Bomber Bob

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Posted 08 January 2021 - 11:25 PM

Mogey, Questar, & Tinsley.  Although... our daughter was more interested in the Sears 6336, while she had no interest in the Vixen FL80S on the matching green mount...


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#5 Gil V

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Posted 09 January 2021 - 06:32 AM

I think any telescope with a working EQ mount and typical optics - if well-maintained - is worth passing on to folks who will use it.
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#6 LukaszLu

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Posted 09 January 2021 - 07:31 AM

When I'm looking for classic finds, "Multi-Generational" is a warning sign for me to be honest. It most often means that the telescope has been used by people who do not have much in common with astronomy, often as a gadget and attraction for friends and visitors - and this is not a good prognosis for any model, especially the larger one and/or with an equatorial mount.

 

I had the opportunity to buy such "family" telescopes and the seller's assurances about their good condition are usually not confirmed, although I have no doubts that they are sincere. Forceful attempts to move blocked mechanisms, never changed grease, "repairs" with adhesive tape, cleaning the lenses with a handkerchief - even the most resistant model can't handle it...

 

Such a "multi-generation" telescope can most often be immediately recognized and distinguished from the equipment used by a conscious astronomy enthusiast. It is also often the case that a dusty and dirty copy that has been left unattended for many years in an attic or basement turns out to be in better condition than an apparently well-kept telescope, regularly used improperly.



#7 CharlieB

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Posted 09 January 2021 - 08:16 AM

This one is built to last for centuries if taken care of.  Unfortunately, my two offspring have no interest in astronomy.  Yet another parental failure.

 

Nippon Kogaku 50mm.

 

DSC_1025 - Edited.jpg

 


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#8 starman876

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Posted 09 January 2021 - 10:04 AM

Considering I have a least one of each except the Clark scopes which have eluded me. I would say that any of the scopes mentioned could be multi generation. Only problem I see is will they appreciate the scope and its qualities and its history. I believe for the next person which will own the scope they will need to be educated so they will appreciate the scope and take proper care of it and appreciate the views and in turn deliver the scope in good condition to the next generation and teach them to appreciate the scope.


Edited by starman876, 09 January 2021 - 10:06 AM.


#9 Stew44

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Posted 09 January 2021 - 11:09 AM

When I'm looking for classic finds, "Multi-Generational" is a warning sign for me to be honest. It most often means that the telescope has been used by people who do not have much in common with astronomy, often as a gadget and attraction for friends and visitors - and this is not a good prognosis for any model, especially the larger one and/or with an equatorial mount.

 

I had the opportunity to buy such "family" telescopes and the seller's assurances about their good condition are usually not confirmed, although I have no doubts that they are sincere. Forceful attempts to move blocked mechanisms, never changed grease, "repairs" with adhesive tape, cleaning the lenses with a handkerchief - even the most resistant model can't handle it...

 

Such a "multi-generation" telescope can most often be immediately recognized and distinguished from the equipment used by a conscious astronomy enthusiast. It is also often the case that a dusty and dirty copy that has been left unattended for many years in an attic or basement turns out to be in better condition than an apparently well-kept telescope, regularly used improperly.

I mean by multi-generational a scope that gets significant use by each one and has the build quality to 'keep on ticking'.



#10 LukaszLu

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Posted 09 January 2021 - 11:33 AM

I mean by multi-generational a scope that gets significant use by each one and has the build quality to 'keep on ticking'.

That's exactly how I understood it. I wanted to say that - in short - multi-generational often means "forced to ticking" ;-)



#11 Stew44

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Posted 09 January 2021 - 01:10 PM

During that conversation and from other sources, the protégé of Seizo Goto, Shusuke Kojima who started Astro Optical and pretty much built that Under the Christmas Tree industry with a focus more on volume of sales rather than what I would call a multi-generational scope, is kind of what I'm after here.  We have seen the makers that appear to be solid optical performers but the scopes were not stable or durable, and especially with Unitron, who dominated US sales with a scope built to last multiple generations, they are still a primary Classic to acquire so a given.  But many many of the scopes that were imported were not useable or friendly towards encouraging especially young people to explore the heavens.  In my youth my brother had a 60mm Sears refractor (he still has it).  Weak legs/tripods caused unsteady viewing.  Poor eyepieces and finding tools caused inability to really find more than a few obvious objects. Sloppy manual geared axis drives made tracking frustrating.  Draw tubes without adequate felting or other centering devices made barlow usage difficult and coupled with poor manual drives hard to keep objects centered.  I'm looking for the best of that group here.



#12 Stew44

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Posted 09 January 2021 - 01:12 PM

Charlie B's 50mm NK was built to drive fence posts with the OTA and still maintain alignment in my opinion. lol.gif   


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#13 Van Do9:3

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Posted 09 January 2021 - 03:34 PM

This one is built to last for centuries if taken care of.  Unfortunately, my two offspring have no interest in astronomy.  Yet another parental failure.

 

Nippon Kogaku 50mm.

 

attachicon.gifDSC_1025 - Edited.jpg

Charlie, you can adopt me. I have a career, Family, and home. No college tuition to pay for. But seriously, the NK is a prime example of what I believe is essence to Stew’s topic.  An enduring telescope that was well designed, crafted, and intended to last. It’s an heirloom (there’s probably a better term) that holds value not only monetarily but also as a usable instrument, and if nothing else as a beautiful art piece that invokes memories.

 

I guess another part of this question is, does it have to be a near professional quality telescope? By that, I mean NK, Goto, Zeus, and others made some fantastic academic level telescopes that can easily be multigenerational. Hope I’m not diverging. 


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#14 John Higbee

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Posted 09 January 2021 - 07:17 PM

"...and of course any other American scopes..."

 

Criterion RV6, and Celestron C8 Orange Tube (1976 or prior).

 

Both superb scopes, sturdily constructed, and (most importantly) no "go-to" electronics to fail without hope of repair. 

 

Simple to operate, with great optics providing great views.

 

One of my daughters already has the RV-6; my son will get the C8 OT.

 

John 


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#15 Kasmos

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Posted 09 January 2021 - 07:48 PM

This one is built to last for centuries if taken care of.  Unfortunately, my two offspring have no interest in astronomy.  Yet another parental failure.

 

Nippon Kogaku 50mm.

 

attachicon.gifDSC_1025 - Edited.jpg

No worries Charlie. I'm a bigger parental failure since I have no offspring at all. wink.png

 

I pretty much doubt that any of my three nieces or the one nephew would use or take care of any of my scopes. As far as I know, only one of them (who's now 32) has ever looked thru one, and that was a couple of weeks ago when we shared the view of the conjunction. She really enjoyed it but I didn't get the feeling it was life changing, or she'd want one.

 

To me it's more important that whoever recieves them, appreciates, cares for and uses them. Afterall, how many times have people popped into this forum only to ask how much dad's or grandpa's scope was worth?

 

I kind of have a fantasy of meeting a young person that takes to me and my stuff so I can leave some of it to them.


Edited by Kasmos, 09 January 2021 - 07:49 PM.


#16 Mr Magoo

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Posted 09 January 2021 - 08:40 PM

I would love to think my son would take on my 1060 RG, but I know it is a big wish. I could not part with it at this time. 
 

AF4C4513-ED3E-4434-B9A4-6472DABED0E0.jpeg


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#17 Defenderslideguitar

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Posted 09 January 2021 - 09:35 PM

Ken

 

 Glad  you are keeping the big 1060 RG    Awesome     Any subsequent interested generation would be lucky to have that


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#18 Bomber Bob

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Posted 09 January 2021 - 10:06 PM

I guess another part of this question is, does it have to be a near professional quality telescope?

 

No.  This is a Hobby -- amateur astronomy -- so professional-grade instruments aren't required; and, shouldn't have to be at that level to be handed-down through the generations.

 

IMO, the scopes we consider Classics on this Forum are worthy of heirloom status -- even some Towas.

 

About country of origin:  I'm pretty ignorant about the scopes made in the USSR, but if the 30mm I bought is a representative sample, the larger models have the build quality to be called Classic.


Edited by Bomber Bob, 09 January 2021 - 10:21 PM.

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#19 Terra Nova

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Posted 10 January 2021 - 01:26 PM

About country of origin:  I'm pretty ignorant about the scopes made in the USSR, but if the 30mm I bought is a representative sample, the larger models have the build quality to be called Classic.

I’ve had two Lomo Maks, my eldest daughter has one of them and enjoys using it.


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#20 jurdea

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Posted 12 January 2021 - 06:57 PM

I second the motion on Ken Sturrock's vote for the Unitron 142.  As a retired engineer, I look on its equatorial mount and its fit, finish and quality almost as one might look at a timeless work of art.  It is nothing short of gorgeous (and - bias warning -  I own one from the late 50's).

 

Another contender, the telescopes of John Brashear manufactured in the early 20th century in Pittsburgh.

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#21 Garyth64

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Posted 12 January 2021 - 08:27 PM

   This is a Hobby -- amateur astronomy -- so professional-grade instruments aren't required; and, shouldn't have to be at that level to be handed-down through the generations.

 

I agree.

 

I've given each of my three grandsons old Tasco 12TE kits, complete in their wood boxes.  They only have a little interest in Astronomy.  I asked them to pass those little classics onto their kids, because it may spark an interest in them.  They've lasted 60 years, no reason why they couldn't last for at least another 60 years.


Edited by Garyth64, 12 January 2021 - 08:28 PM.

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