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Towa Tokyo Achromat 62/800mm

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#1 Piggyback

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Posted 03 February 2021 - 11:39 AM

This little Towa Tokyo 62/800mm achromat came from an elderly gentleman in Germany. He remembered watching the total solar eclipse of 1999 with that very instrument. A couple "Kosmos" sun goggles were part of the deal. When he told his story, I sort of felt like in a time machine. I had camped just 50 miles from that guys observation point and I was rained out! So how could I resist buying this scope? This thing had seen the eclipse and the price seemed right. The two lens air-spaced achromat came complete with strange looking semi-transparent lens cover, sturdy yoke mount, spindly height-adjustable wooden tripod, 3-point chain-support, AH 20, HM 12,5, H9 and H6 eyepieces, prism diagonal, earthprism, crummy eyepiece sunfilter and nice looking wooden transport case. Seller had utilized the sunfilter on top of the AH 20mm to watch the partial phases of the eclipse.

 

After flushing out the old syrup-colored grease in the yoke mount, taking apart and cleaning the airspaced frontlens and applying some well deserved tlc, my scope is now ready to rumble. I must admit that I have developed a strange liking for that little 4x20 finderscope with crosshairs. I can´t really explain it. That finder is tiny, yet the objective gives pretty good daylight views. No chance for star testing. Waiting for skies to clear up later this week. I was told this Towa may have been sold in 1956, but I do not have proof for that. I also would like to know who made the front lens. Astro Optical?

 

 

Towa Tokyo 62 auf 800mm von 1956_03red.jpg

 

 

Towa Tokyo 62 auf 800mm von 1956_01.JPG


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#2 Piggyback

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Posted 03 February 2021 - 11:54 AM

Close up of focuser

 

 

Towa Tokyo 62 auf 800mm von 1956_04.JPG


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#3 Bomber Bob

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Posted 03 February 2021 - 12:43 PM

Nice!  I bought a 1960s STEIN TOWA 60x800 on Goodwill:  Cosmetics weren't good, but the lens was Excellent.  Had the same Asahi-style hardware.


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#4 Kasmos

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Posted 03 February 2021 - 05:27 PM

waytogo.gif Very cool find.

I really like the style of the name/badging on this one.

I've only seen one other (below) branded this way on Offer Up.

Towa-Tokyo-Focuser.jpg

Note the different knobs and box layout

Towa-Tokyo.jpg

 

It's basically a variation of the several versions of a Towa AT2.

Towa-AT2-1962-re.jpg

This is from a 1962 Japanese Optics Catalog  (recomposed to better fit CN's format)

Your's has the smaller slimmer cell and black finder which indicates it to be older. 

 

My Crescent Towa is very similar but has the '59-'61 larger cell, sliding legs, and a later more typical white finder.

Crescent-Boxed-2.jpg

Crescent-Focuser-1.jpg

 

I have a smaller type cell (below) and a focuser from a Selsi version (seller said it was a Carton but I doubt it).

Cells-Side by side.jpg

Cells800.jpg

The Selsi has three lens spacers while the Crescent has a ring.

Also, Selsis often have a completely different style of mount.

 

Its a long story and took a lot of fiddling (in the Spacers and Ring Thread)

but the Crescent now gives about as sharp of image as any other 60mm I have.

 

The AT2s can vary by tripod legs, tripod trays, mounts, finders, style of EPs, Cells, focuser knobs, and box layout. 

One of these days I'd like to create a thread where we can post all of the different branding and variations.


Edited by Kasmos, 03 February 2021 - 07:56 PM.

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#5 Piggyback

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Posted 04 February 2021 - 01:28 AM

Thanks, Chris! Nice report and images! Helps me put my find into perspective. waytogo.gif


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#6 Kasmos

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Posted 04 February 2021 - 01:42 AM

Stefan,

Your's looks to be in very good shape and 1956 sounds about right. 

I also see it has a smaller azimuth control knob. Never noticed one like that before.

 

Now you have to give us more detailed photos and glamour shots!


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#7 Piggyback

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Posted 04 February 2021 - 11:03 AM

Chris,

You wanned it, you got it. Towa control knobs on my 62/800mm. Sun came out for the first time in what seems like eternity.

 

 

Towa Tokyo 62 auf 800mm von 1956_07_1red.jpg


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#8 Piggyback

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Posted 04 February 2021 - 11:34 AM

Towa waiting for first light. Looking pretty good. Stay tuned....

 

Towa Tokyo 62 auf 800mm von 1956_05.red.jpg

 

 

 

 

 


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#9 Piggyback

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Posted 04 February 2021 - 11:39 AM

And final shot before darkness.

 

Towa Tokyo 62 auf 800mm von 1956_13redd.jpg


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#10 LukaszLu

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Posted 04 February 2021 - 11:41 AM

Beauty! Congratulations! I wonder how you will ultimately estimate it's age. The focuser knobs and the way the inscription is engraved on the focuser sleve look the same as in the strange refractor with an eyepiece revolver I recently bought: https://www.cloudyni...piece-revolver/

It is probably a very early Towa product as well, but I am trying to figure out any information about - with a poor results so far.


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#11 AaronM

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Posted 04 February 2021 - 11:43 AM

Nice little scope Stefan - I was nearly 2 years out of the hobby, but I feel in my old bones, that I will return and maybe starting a new small collection of classic japanese scopes.

Classic telescopes are an addiction that cannot be avoided lol.gif

 

Kind regards Michael Aaron, Liebe Grüße Michael


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#12 Piggyback

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Posted 04 February 2021 - 11:49 AM

Danke, Michael!



#13 Kasmos

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Posted 04 February 2021 - 02:52 PM

Chris,

You wanned it, you got it. Towa control knobs on my 62/800mm. Sun came out for the first time in what seems like eternity.

 

 

attachicon.gifTowa Tokyo 62 auf 800mm von 1956_07_1red.jpg

It looks brand new!

 

Beauty! Congratulations! I wonder how you will ultimately estimate it's age. The focuser knobs and the way the inscription is engraved on the focuser sleve look the same as in the strange refractor with an eyepiece revolver I recently bought: https://www.cloudyni...piece-revolver/

It is probably a very early Towa product as well, but I am trying to figure out any information about - with a poor results so far.

IMO we can estimate the year by the things I mentioned in post #4:

"They can vary by tripod legs, tripod trays, mounts, finders, style of EPs, Cells, focuser knobs, and box layout".

 

1. While I'm not 100% convinced that the slimmer cell design design was completely consistent with the year model, It tends to be on the older examples going back to the mid '50s. I say this since I believe I've seen some first month /year ads for some (Towa) Layfayettes that were late in '59 and early 60's with the slim cell. (I need to go back and confirm that) While Stephen (the Tasco expert,) says his research shows that my style of cell was only offered in '59-'61. 

 

2. The box layout and folding tripod legs shown at the top of post#4 usually go together and are older (mid to late '50's). Piggyback's scope has the folding legs with the newer box layout and that indicates to me that it's somewhere between what we normally see in that period.

 

4. Trays and Tripod Chains.

Starting with newer models and going back this generally is the trend:

 

Metal trays with metal tray supports. Wood Trays with metal supports. Wood Trays held by Chains. Chains with no Tray. Piggybacks scope seems to defy this trend, but these things might be partly due to the variations of what the each importer's specified features.

 

5. Finders. The black wrinkle 20mm finders indicate mid to late 50s.

 

6. Eyepieces. Unitron style flat top EPs lean towards mid 50s.

 

7. Makers Marks and Label/Badges. So far it appears that Towa and others didn't mark them until about 1958. Since Piggyback's is a Towa it wouldn't have one, but it has a engraved focuser instead of a stick on Label/Badge and that once again generally leans toward mid 50s.


Edited by Kasmos, 04 February 2021 - 06:00 PM.

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#14 Piggyback

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Posted 04 February 2021 - 03:51 PM

Thanks Chris for laying out your expertise. 



#15 Piggyback

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Posted 04 February 2021 - 04:10 PM

IMG_4880.JPG

 

This seems to be an early advertisement for a Jupiter labeled lookalike dated 1953. 



#16 Bomber Bob

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Posted 04 February 2021 - 04:35 PM

Does your Towa have a JTII sticker on it (or a paper band with sticker around the finder)??

 

I don't think I've seen any of the common Japanese imports with a Maker's Mark confirmed from earlier than 1958.  

 

IIRC, the Circle T is "standard" by ~ 1960.  But again, most re-branders didn't put a mark on the scopes bearing their own label.

 

My Space Scope 151 came with the original invoice & bill of sale, so a confirmed date of 1956.  I think your Towa is from around that same year, too.


Edited by Bomber Bob, 04 February 2021 - 04:48 PM.

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#17 LukaszLu

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Posted 04 February 2021 - 04:44 PM

IMO we can estimate the year by the things I mentioned in post #4:

Thanks for the great remarks! Late 50's - this is how I estimated the age of mine "vari power" and it agrees with what you wrote about, especially when it comes to the engraved lettering and the design of the EP.


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#18 Kasmos

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Posted 04 February 2021 - 06:29 PM

Thanks Chris for laying out your expertise. 

I'm really no expert at all. I just save and look at a lot of photos and info and then try to string them together in a way that indicate the trends that more or less makes sense in terms of what was done over the years. These ramblings can be then be contested or confirmed by others and we all learn in the process. Each of us posting photos our scopes really helps in this effort.

 

I have to say, your scope kind of threw a curve ball in what I would expect. The combination of no tray, folding legs, engraved focuser, and the black finder is usually seen with the other older box layout. But these features might not always go in a straight line. The parts suppliers and the importers may have both played a role in these things.


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#19 Bomber Bob

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Posted 04 February 2021 - 06:43 PM

Circa 1960 Monolux 60x800:

 

Monolux 60x800 AZ S01.jpg

 

(I should've kept This One.  Outstanding Lens, Good Cosmetics, & RARE.)

 

Lens & Cell during cleaning:

 

Monolux 60x800 AZ S74.jpg

 

Circa 1964 STEIN TOWA:

 

Stein Towa GW Delivered S01.jpg

 

Stein Towa GW Label S01.jpg

 

 


Edited by Bomber Bob, 04 February 2021 - 08:56 PM.

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#20 Kasmos

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Posted 04 February 2021 - 08:38 PM

Bob, It looks like your Black Beauty might fall right between Piggyback's and mine. Yours and his share the same finder and have an extra support for the mount, plus chains (which I forgot to mention) to keep the box lid from falling back. On the other hand like mine, it looks like it may have the larger objective cell, but it's hard to tell???



#21 Bomber Bob

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Posted 04 February 2021 - 08:58 PM

IIRC, the STEIN TOWA had the single casting lens cell & dew shield; and, there was a tiny grub screw that locked the retaining ring -- took me a bit to find it!!  The ring threaded out on the eye side rather than the typical sky side... 


Edited by Bomber Bob, 04 February 2021 - 08:59 PM.


#22 Kasmos

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Posted 04 February 2021 - 09:36 PM

Somebody edited their post!

 

Anyhow, now seeing the Monolux cell opened up, it looks like it had the smaller slimmer type, so it's date is probably right in there with Piggybacks.

 

As for the Stein Towa, other than those bare angled tray brackets (which you don't see too often), it looks like a match to my Crescent. The first time I saw some of those I thought they were homemade.



#23 Bomber Bob

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Posted 04 February 2021 - 09:41 PM

I think... I gave the Black Beauty Monolux to the Scouts, and the STEIN TOWA to the grand kids... but I've been through TOO MANY scopes to keep 'em straight.



#24 Piggyback

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Posted 05 February 2021 - 01:56 PM

Weather turned nasty after beauty shots of my Towa 62/800. Remedied a flipped eyelens on the 12,5mm Huygens. Still no first light. Stay tuned.



#25 Kasmos

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Posted 19 February 2021 - 03:48 AM

Stefan,

Earlier I'd noticed the Azimuth control knob looked small, but didn't realize until now that the two knobs are switched. 

Alt-Knobs.jpg

The small one should be for locking the tangent arm collar.


Edited by Kasmos, 19 February 2021 - 03:48 AM.

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