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The first classic telescope you ever saw in person

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#1 grif 678

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Posted 20 December 2021 - 05:28 PM

I have seen many, many classic telescopes in catalogs dating back in the 50's and 60's. The first classic telescope I ever owned, I ordered from a local Sears catalog store.

But I did not know it would be a classic. But the first one I ever saw in person ( to the best of my knowledge ) was an orange tube Celestron refractor. Do not remember what year it was, but it was before I bought my Sears. It was in some store in a mall in the mountains, our parents went up there to visit some relatives, and they took us to a place where there were a lot of stores. When I saw the scope, I did not think anything about the thing being a classic one day, probably did not even know what a classic was at that age. But I remember seeing it sitting up on a table behind the clerks counter.


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#2 DouglasPaul

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Posted 20 December 2021 - 05:36 PM

This is the fist one I remember seeing. smile.gif

 

https://www.cloudyni...-problem-child/


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#3 havasman

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Posted 20 December 2021 - 05:36 PM

...was brand new.


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#4 Claytoncramer

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Posted 20 December 2021 - 06:32 PM

p. 6.  I was at the Cave Optical plant.



#5 bobzeq25

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Posted 20 December 2021 - 06:57 PM

1863 classic enough?  <smile>

 

The 18.5 Alvan Clark refractor at Northwestern University.  My parents took me as a child to see Mars at a favorable opposition, and my interest in astronomy was off and running.

 

I have no recollection of ever seeing a telescope before that.

 

Pre pandemic it was still open for public viewing nights.

 

https://openhousechi...orn-observatory


Edited by bobzeq25, 20 December 2021 - 07:00 PM.

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#6 Kasmos

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Posted 20 December 2021 - 07:31 PM

I have seen many, many classic telescopes in catalogs dating back in the 50's and 60's. The first classic telescope I ever owned, I ordered from a local Sears catalog store.

But I did not know it would be a classic. But the first one I ever saw in person ( to the best of my knowledge ) was an orange tube Celestron refractor. Do not remember what year it was, but it was before I bought my Sears. It was in some store in a mall in the mountains, our parents went up there to visit some relatives, and they took us to a place where there were a lot of stores. When I saw the scope, I did not think anything about the thing being a classic one day, probably did not even know what a classic was at that age. But I remember seeing it sitting up on a table behind the clerks counter.

What year did you order your Sears? The reason I ask is the orange tube Celestron refractors came out in 1983.

 

But to answer the question, The 12" Zeiss at Griffith Observatory in elementry school. I didn't pay much attention to them in stores until the late 70's and sort of remember the Towas at Sears and the Mayflowers at Fedco where my Dad bought my 814. I remember thinking the Sears scopes weren't as nice. Visited Cave a lot from late 76 to about '80 (bought my mount there in '78). Also, around that time I lusted after the sand cast C8 that was in a glass case at Griffith.


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#7 jsiska

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Posted 20 December 2021 - 07:55 PM

In 1962, I had just recently learned what astronomy was.  In a store that back then was similar to a modern Best Buys, I was stunned by the telescope display. Each item in the store was on display and making a purchase required filling out a form, paying for the item and then waiting for the stock room in the rear of the store to send the unopened box with the item down a series of conveyor belts to the pick up counter in front of the store. Near the radio/TV department were all the Tasco telescopes displayed fully assembled. The 10TE, the 7TE , 12TE, 5VTE, 11TEA, 3TE, and in a display case in front of the telescopes were all the Tasco accessories. I was in awe as I studied each telescope knowing very well that I didn't have the money to buy one. It was the very next year that I went back to that store and purchased the newly marketed Tasco 9TE. Since then, I've enjoyed using that OTA a lot through the years.

 

Okay it wasn't a Unitron which I didn't even know about at the time, but for a 12 - 13 year old, saving an entire year for a Tasco seemed like a very long time and I'm glad I did.


Edited by jsiska, 20 December 2021 - 08:09 PM.

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#8 CHASLX200

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Posted 20 December 2021 - 08:09 PM

Not really sure. But the first real scope and it would be a classic today was a Unitron M-160 in a Observatory when i was 13 in 1977.  I was nuts over something like that and really wanted one. This was before i knew about Sky&tele or clubs or star parties and or scopes.


Edited by CHASLX200, 20 December 2021 - 08:21 PM.

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#9 John Huntley

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Posted 20 December 2021 - 08:19 PM

Back in 1971 I started at what we call secondary school in the UK. I was 11 years old. The school had a small astronomy dome and a planetarium in a shed - this was pretty advanced for a state school !

 

I joined the school astronomy club and soon had a chance to see (and use) what was hidden within the dome - an 8.5 inch Charles Frank equatorially mounted newtonian with a skeleton tube.

 

This is a page from the Charles Frank catalog which shows the scope:

 

cf85.jpg

 

 

 

 

 


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#10 Bob W4

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Posted 20 December 2021 - 08:37 PM

The first classic scope I ever saw in person was in the early 80s in the window of an optical shop (eyeglasses) at the Ridgedale Shopping Mall in Minnetonka, Minnesota.  It was a Unitron 3” folded refractor perched atop it’s equatorial throne.  My gaze was frozen at the sight.  It’s beauty rivaled even the Hope diamond.  Can’t remember for sure the price, but I think it was $1200 ???

Totally unaffordable for me at the time, but the memory is priceless.


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#11 oldmanastro

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Posted 20 December 2021 - 09:04 PM

The first classic telescope I ever saw came out of a box during Christmas morning of 65. It was a Sears 60mm f/11 altazimuth mounted refractor with two eyepieces, 2x Barlow, prism diagonal, moon and sun eyepiece filters, achromatic 5X24mm finder, wooden tripod plus accessory tray with tray light. It was a surprise gift from my parents after seeing my interest in the ongoing space program and my poor attempts to see the moon through a toy telescope. The Sears telescope included a book and a one year subscription to The Review of Popular Astronomy. After my first view of Saturn through the telescope, there was no going back. This is a recent image of the telescope after a refurbish job this year. 

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#12 grif 678

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Posted 20 December 2021 - 09:10 PM

What year did you order your Sears? The reason I ask is the orange tube Celestron refractors came out in 1983.

 

But to answer the question, The 12" Zeiss at Griffith Observatory in elementry school. I didn't pay much attention to them in stores until the late 70's and sort of remember the Towas at Sears and the Mayflowers at Fedco where my Dad bought my 814. I remember thinking the Sears scopes weren't as nice. Visited Cave a lot from late 76 to about '80 (bought my mount there in '78). Also, around that time I lusted after the sand cast C8 that was in a glass case at Griffith.

I was thinking that they came out after the Sears also, unless I am very mistaken ( it was a long time ago ) I almost know that I saw the orange telescope before I bought the Sears. I was not married when I saw the orange scope, but bought the Sears after I was married? Did someone have an orange refractor before Celestron?



#13 icomet

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Posted 20 December 2021 - 09:35 PM

This is the first one I saw in person.

About 17 years later, I purchased it.

 

Here's how it looked for those years, and never moving from this spot.

 

Looks a lot different now.

 

Clear Skies.

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#14 Marc-Andre

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Posted 20 December 2021 - 10:18 PM

I saw this one; https://www.cloudyni...aine/?p=5343683

on a science club trip about 69/70.  Then as a student at UMO (72-75) I was part of a small group that manned the observatory for public outreach.  My night was either Friday or Saturday.  


Edited by Marc-Andre, 20 December 2021 - 10:26 PM.

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#15 Exnihilo

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Posted 20 December 2021 - 10:50 PM

For me it was the Royal Astro Tasco 7te-5, 60mm F16.7 equatorial:

 

https://www.scoperev...com/Tasco1.html

 

It was 1971, I was 12 years old, it was $85 and I paid for it using money I had saved that summer working on a farm.  Still wish I had it!


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#16 deSitter

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Posted 20 December 2021 - 11:23 PM

Christmas 1969, a brand new Sears 6344 in the den. I knew what it was from the box, and I knew it was the 3" from the size :) Traded for an RV-6 a couple of years later. I had the opportunity to pick up an all-but-complete example in good shape a few years ago. I'm typing a few feet from it. I thought I was going to lose it again but managed to save it. Both examples have textbook diffraction patterns. I didn't really appreciate how good it was until I looked through a 10" SCT while in college and was "disappointed". Of course, it was still just a 3" scope, so I got a lot more use out of the RV-6. The 3" however taught me an enormous amount about telescopes, and I'll never forget the shock of seeing the box and taking it out for the first time. It was of course cloudy for weeks, but when it finally cleared up, the first target was Saturn, high in the eastern sky.

 

-drl


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#17 sdedalus83

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Posted 20 December 2021 - 11:37 PM

I think it was in 91 or 92 that my parents bought a used, blue tube, Meade branded Towa 4.5”. That’s the only scope I remember using until I went to Kitt peak in the summer or early fall of 94 when I was 11 and got to see Jupiter through one of the original 16” Cassegrains.


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#18 mdowns  Happy Birthday!

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Posted 20 December 2021 - 11:58 PM

IMG_3540.JPG

 

The first classic(at the time and still operating )was the 36" cass at Goethe Link Observatory south of Indy.I first saw and looked through this scope in the later sixties.At that time it was already more than 25 years old and is still in use now(by the Indiana Astronomical Society).I took this picture 10 years or so ago.


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#19 CHASLX200

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Posted 21 December 2021 - 06:57 AM

This is the first one I saw in person.

About 17 years later, I purchased it.

 

Here's how it looked for those years, and never moving from this spot.

 

Looks a lot different now.

 

Clear Skies.

What is it? Looks like a Cave with Meade legs.



#20 bobhen

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Posted 21 December 2021 - 07:29 AM

Like many my age, the first “future” classic scope I saw was my neighbor’s Sears refractor, which, back in 1965, showed me the rings of Saturn and started my astro journey. I soon had Santa bring one of my own. 

 

The next “future” classic scopes I saw was back in 1977 when I started looking for a “serious” telescope to replace my old 60mm refractor. I took a trip to Edmund Scientific and on display I saw; a fork-mounted Celestron C5, red tube Edmund 6” and 8” reflectors and Edmund 3” and 4” red-tube refractors.

 

About 13-years later, I got to observe Jupiter through an Edmund 4” F15 refractor. Great view. However, by that time I had a 152mm F9 Astro-Physics refractor that, on the same night, showed what a decent size apo refractor could deliver. Of course that 1989 AP 152 is also now a classic, as am I.

 

Bob


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#21 RichA

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Posted 21 December 2021 - 07:34 AM

I have seen many, many classic telescopes in catalogs dating back in the 50's and 60's. The first classic telescope I ever owned, I ordered from a local Sears catalog store.

But I did not know it would be a classic. But the first one I ever saw in person ( to the best of my knowledge ) was an orange tube Celestron refractor. Do not remember what year it was, but it was before I bought my Sears. It was in some store in a mall in the mountains, our parents went up there to visit some relatives, and they took us to a place where there were a lot of stores. When I saw the scope, I did not think anything about the thing being a classic one day, probably did not even know what a classic was at that age. But I remember seeing it sitting up on a table behind the clerks counter.

A 1963 Questar 3.5, which I saw in 1970 so not classic then!



#22 icomet

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Posted 21 December 2021 - 12:15 PM

What is it? Looks like a Cave with Meade legs.

History of the scope said it replaced an existing one about 1955.

2" Dec shaft.

 

Didn't know Meade was up and running then.  Didn't know that Meade made 8 1/2"  piers, either.

 

Clear Skies.

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  • bar code Cave scope sm.jpg
  • Cave ID. 12.5 inch f7_1.jpg

Edited by icomet, 21 December 2021 - 12:25 PM.

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#23 Bonco2

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Posted 21 December 2021 - 04:02 PM

The first one of note was in the late 50's...It was a Unitron 152. Fifty years are so later I finally bought my first Unitron, a model 142.

Bill


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#24 CHASLX200

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Posted 21 December 2021 - 07:14 PM

History of the scope said it replaced an existing one about 1955.

2" Dec shaft.

 

Didn't know Meade was up and running then.  Didn't know that Meade made 8 1/2"  piers, either.

 

Clear Skies.

The legs kinda looked like the Meade legs with the holes in them. That is the only thing that looks Meade.



#25 rcwolpert

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Posted 21 December 2021 - 09:33 PM

My best friend lived a few houses down the street and one night his father set up a 3” Unitron for us to use. We were young and ignorant and didn’t know how to use it, but I was in awe. The next classic I saw was my RV-6 when it arrived at my door in December 1964.


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