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Early 1950’s Unitron 114

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#1 Van Do9:3

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Posted 26 September 2021 - 09:58 PM

This thread is dedicated to D_talley who went above and beyond to help me acquire this wonderful early 1950’s Unitron 114. Here is a link to the Finds forum post #1228 as preamble to this thread, LINK

 

Please bear with me as it takes awhile for me to photograph and write up this post. And thanks in advance for any advise and comments from the fine and knowledgeable group of CN amateur astronomers.

This 114 is at least from April 1954, perhaps earlier, ‘52, ‘53?

 

9987D0C0-6B79-4B82-80A9-394C9E399295.jpeg

 

First the metrics as compared to a 60’s Unitron 114 with the earlier model listed first:

- Length: taken roughly from objective lens, not the cell, to the eyepiece adapter, both measure about 30 13/16”.

- Weight: 3lbs-15.125oz (1.789kg) vs 2lb-14.75oz (1.328kg).

- Focal Travel: 1 3/32” (30.5mm) vs 1 5/16” (34mm).

- Draw tube: 7 13/16” (150mm) vs 5 7/8” (200mm).

- EPs cover diameter: 27.5mm, code to 28mm vs 27mm.

 

63EE72CA-BB70-49A8-8622-2FA2AA3F860A.jpeg

CB969CE8-8A1C-40CE-94BC-19BE9461396B.jpeg

69A4CE5D-2BD8-40FD-BB2D-CF6E768F60FC.jpeg

 

The obvious difference is the weight. The large heavy objective cell is brass and the OTA tube feels thicker. The surprising difference is the draw tube length. The objective lens appears to have water stains and cob webs. The lens cover is a card board affair. Kasmos believes this may be original? That would be pretty cool.

 

B0CCAA8E-8136-44BF-91A5-751534B6BE7E.jpeg

0DE76B33-6DD2-429E-A43B-D167C0071BA0.jpeg CC019AAC-639A-4873-80E4-9FF4FEA44497.jpeg

 

The OTA cabinet is built with more refinements than the 60’s model. The lid has a profiled edge and the interior felt lining is scribed which is more bespoke than older model. The Owner(s) had stained the lid and stained over the Unitron label but it shows through as the calligraphy font and not the straight font as etched on the OTA.

- Felt liner: 3mm scribed vs 5mm.

 

537DA3FE-2F12-4073-9EC0-6DC3E918F800.jpeg

32ADD836-36E6-442F-84F3-5087E2D50666.jpeg

9591E10C-F462-4252-94EC-AD7668098023.jpeg

 

 

 

 



 

 

 


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#2 Van Do9:3

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Posted 26 September 2021 - 10:08 PM

The finder scope has the intact double cross hairs. Unfortunately, the previous Owner replaced two of the adjustment screws with larger diameter hex heads.

 

0EC8FFB7-E729-4959-A9DA-5A982ADFB7BD.jpeg

3374D556-7DFD-4F72-818E-7C8F83372278.jpeg

E3083F21-B2CE-4BFB-BF14-991D399D400B.jpeg

 

The prism star diagonal plastic housing is cracked but hopefully fixable. There appears to be pieces loose inside. 

 

217BCA82-3212-4055-A2A4-A3F010BB7903.jpeg

 

The OTA has s thick saddle plate that attaches to a dedicated mate on the alt-az mount. 

 

DC0E55A8-8D80-4F6E-81BF-73136B9512D7.jpeg 6DA0AFBB-183C-416F-A81E-E0212BEFD2DD.jpeg

 

That’s it for now. Will post additional findings as the cleaning and restoration begins.


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#3 Kasmos

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Posted 26 September 2021 - 11:03 PM

Like! The only thing I don't like are the small photos. It makes it harder to see and compare stuff. If you can't reduce their file size then perhaps you can post fewer photos per post? 

 

BTW, the objective cell may not be brass. Since it was heavy I thought my Soligor was, but it turned out to be anodizied aluminum.

 

This Instrments of Science branded Nihon Seiko 114 shares features with yours. In post #3 & #17 you can see it's cardboard dust cover and in #64 the objective cand cell.

 

https://www.cloudyni...mm-nihon-seiko/

 

Beware, It's an old thread and it has some misinformation about two other scopes. A Towa that is called a Pentax, and another Towa speculated to be a pre-Unitron Nihon Seiko! ohmy.gif


Edited by Kasmos, 27 September 2021 - 02:42 AM.

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#4 Van Do9:3

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Posted 27 September 2021 - 07:53 PM

Chris, 

 

Apologies I wasn’t able to reply sooner, work, parenting duties, and garbage is at the curb so now I can play.

 

Thanks fo the advise on the photos. I did cheat and tried to cram too many photos into one post. It looked fine on the screen but when you click on the photo it jumps down to the small size. Will not be doing that in the future.

 

The link to the other early TIC is interesting and very similar to this Unitron. Although I do regret this one does not have the awesome solar projection apparatus. 

 

I did notice the TIC had the same yellow Kodak bottle of lens cleaning solution. This one also has a sleeve of cleaning paper. There about 38-40 sheets left out of the 50 gossamer sheets. I noticed the paper sleeve has Mar 24, 1067 stamped on it. Those did not come with the kit originally, at least not this packet.

 

C66FA7FF-DBB2-447D-BF10-D08047851CE8.jpeg

630A19F3-81AB-42DB-87E0-BC3C7D23CB4B.jpeg

 

I noticed the cardboard dew shield cover in the TIC post which is interesting. This one is too tight for this dew shield and has a crack, thus the green tape around it. The cardboard cover is too loose for the objective cell but I am glad they used it for that and saved the objective from additional dust and sand.

 


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#5 Van Do9:3

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Posted 27 September 2021 - 08:05 PM

Now for the meat. The brass eyepieces are so nice. I have only seen this simple design and script on antique accessories. Could they have been sourced from another telescope maker?

 

The H25, SA9, and O6 retaining rings do not have the slots for a wrench for removal, only the H18.

 

H25 assembly:

 

15888BD0-1242-46CE-96D6-84B8C6CBBFA3.jpeg

 

H18 assembly:

 

39CF17A8-C004-4787-BE86-2FE9E81A6066.jpeg

 

Unfortunately, the H18 has a small chip.


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#6 Van Do9:3

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Posted 27 September 2021 - 08:17 PM

SA9 and O6 assemblies:

 

5DF202D8-B2E0-44D8-A548-FD81197D10BA.jpeg

 

O6 double or triple lenses? The other lenses will not pop out, and I will not force them out:

 

EB5803A4-1088-4A20-BB30-E101F965220D.jpeg

 

Ok, time for a bath for these little guys. I was wondering if anyone has tried non-flexible collodion on EP lenses. The ATS article states that collodion is the best and perhaps the only cleaning methodology for any lens and particularly for ones that need to stay in the cell.

 

BIF, the 60’s 114 focuser draw tube is too small in this early 114 assembly. And vice versa.


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#7 Terra Nova

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Posted 28 September 2021 - 07:42 AM

That’s an oldie for sure. One of the very first in the line of 114s. Congratulations!


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#8 PawPaw

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Posted 28 September 2021 - 08:14 AM

Ok, time for a bath for these little guys. I was wondering if anyone has tried non-flexible collodion on EP lenses. The ATS article states that collodion is the best and perhaps the only cleaning methodology for any lens and particularly for ones that need to stay in the cell.

 

Congrats on a wonderful early Unitron.  I have to agree with Terra yours may be one of the first Unitron's imported. 

 

I also have a very early set of the unmarked eyepieces and I have been hesitant to take mine apart for cleaning, especially the Or 6mm.   They look exactly like  yours and mine are just a tad oversized for some of my newer .0965 scopes.    They luckily came in the pocket box for a model 155 so the lens are still in good shape.   I cannot see in your pics what the image erector looks like?

 

Don

 

 

 

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#9 Van Do9:3

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Posted 28 September 2021 - 08:24 PM

That’s an oldie for sure. One of the very first in the line of 114s. Congratulations!

Thank you Terra. I like this older 114 with its unique features and design. Not really an antique but it embodies one to me. 



#10 Van Do9:3

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Posted 28 September 2021 - 08:31 PM

Thank you Don, and wow, that is an impressive set of EPs. I agree, if yours are in good condition, I would leave them be.
 

Here is the porro, is that what you are looking for:

042A52EC-9B11-4A6A-982F-FA60A8ED6320.jpeg

 


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#11 Van Do9:3

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Posted 28 September 2021 - 08:33 PM

And a couple more:

 

919B2D71-9207-4B0C-84D4-B6DCCA980FE3.jpeg

7CD8F78A-125F-4EBC-9D1C-9FDC60636F04.jpeg

 

 


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#12 Van Do9:3

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Posted 28 September 2021 - 08:34 PM

While the EP lenses are soaking away decades of dust, I will be cleaning their housing.

 

096A3166-5227-4095-AEF0-F1BEC3C5A28B.jpeg


Edited by Van Do9:3, 28 September 2021 - 08:35 PM.

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#13 Van Do9:3

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Posted 28 September 2021 - 08:45 PM

Don,

 

What year is your 155?

 

I almost forgot, but from the TIC thread, Keith, Strdst, has an early 114 just like this one but in excellent condition. 



#14 Kasmos

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Posted 29 September 2021 - 02:58 AM

 

I also have a very early set of the unmarked eyepieces and I have been hesitant to take mine apart for cleaning, especially the Or 6mm.   They look exactly like  yours and mine are just a tad oversized for some of my newer .0965 scopes.    They luckily came in the pocket box for a model 155 so the lens are still in good shape.   I cannot see in your pics what the image erector looks like?

 

Don

Don, I notice that even my later slanted typeface Unitron EPs feel a little tight when I use them in other other scopes diagonals.


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#15 Kasmos

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Posted 29 September 2021 - 03:08 AM

My Soligor's eye pieces

Soligor EPS.jpg

The two on the left look a lot like those early Unitrons

But I just noticed, when facing them, they have the writting on the top instead of bottom.


Edited by Kasmos, 29 September 2021 - 03:12 AM.

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#16 PawPaw

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Posted 29 September 2021 - 06:52 AM

Don,

 

What year is your 155?

 

I almost forgot, but from the TIC thread, Keith, Strdst, has an early 114 just like this one but in excellent condition. 

As you know it is difficult to date any of our older classics but especially Unitron's.  Using Dave's "Unitronhistory.com" archives and looking at his collection of advertisements I think circa 1954-55.  Here is the thread:  https://www.cloudyni...y early unitron

 

I really like the way you are documenting your find in this thread.   I think it important to photo document everything as found like Kasmos has stated in his posts.  As for the porro prism I am not sure what versions came with the early 114's but the early 150's and 155's show this version in the early ads, which came with mine.

 

Don

 

 

 

Don

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#17 Van Do9:3

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Posted 29 September 2021 - 07:31 AM

My Soligor's eye pieces

attachicon.gifSoligor EPS.jpg

The two on the left look a lot like those early Unitrons

But I just noticed, when facing them, they have the writting on the top instead of bottom.

Chris,

 

Interesting. I’ll try and scan the EPS tomorrow and you can overlay them to see if they’re close in size. Would like to know if the script are also similar. Wonder if the caps and barrels are from one manufacturer and distributed to different optics companies who then engraved the caps?

I need to procure a good set of calipers. 



#18 Van Do9:3

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Posted 29 September 2021 - 07:33 AM

As you know it is difficult to date any of our older classics but especially Unitron's.  Using Dave's "Unitronhistory.com" archives and looking at his collection of advertisements I think circa 1954-55.  Here is the thread:  https://www.cloudyni...y early unitron

 

I really like the way you are documenting your find in this thread.   I think it important to photo document everything as found like Kasmos has stated in his posts.  As for the porro prism I am not sure what versions came with the early 114's but the early 150's and 155's show this version in the early ads, which came with mine.

 

Don

 

 

 

Don

Don, very cool. I did see that kind of porro in the ad or catalogue. Is that a roof prism in binoculars jargon?  



#19 PawPaw

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Posted 30 September 2021 - 07:23 AM

Don, very cool. I did see that kind of porro in the ad or catalogue. Is that a roof prism in binoculars jargon?  

That is a good question.......I will have to check.  Nihon Seiko dropped this version quickly as it takes up more space to store in the cabinet.  


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