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The first classic telescope you ever saw in person

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#26 rogue river art

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Posted 21 December 2021 - 09:41 PM

My Dad took me to the Unitron store in Boston,Ma. around 56. I had wanted to see them and finally he took me. I walked into th back showroom and there stood a 4" and a 6" both on pedestals with the mechanical clock drives. I was totally amazed and wanted the 6" of course.Then at the price of $6000 I'm still wanting it but not going to happen.


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#27 Look at the sky 101

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Posted 21 December 2021 - 09:56 PM

My first vintage scope , I saw it during a trip to Canada in 1975 . ( Ottawa )

A 15 inches warner and swasey refractor , made in hurly 1900's .

A monster , but with a very high quality optic .

I saw saturne like I never saw it before, even today with my telescopes.

Wow .


Edited by Look at the sky 101, 21 December 2021 - 10:42 PM.

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#28 SpaceConqueror3

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Posted 21 December 2021 - 10:44 PM

I want to say it was a 10" f/7.something Cave Reflector at the Naylor Observatory in Harrisburg, PA in 1973


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#29 ccwemyss

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Posted 21 December 2021 - 10:46 PM

I probably saw some on display at the OMSI store when I was about 8, on a cub scout trip. But I don't remember what they were. I got a Tasco 9TE-5 for Christmas that year, which taught me what chromatic aberration is, the importance of a good mount and tripod, what not to use for eyepieces, and that barlows do more damage than good.

 

Somehow I started getting Edmund Scientific catalogs (I probably wrote away after seeing an ad somewhere - there was a time where you actually had to send a letter to get on a mailing list). Then saved for a year to get an Edmund Deluxe Space Conqueror when I was 11.

 

Around the same time I got into a special astronomy class at school, and the teacher brought out a Questar 3.5 that the district owned. That was such a beautiful instrument, with its purple star chart dew shield and polished aluminum. It made my Edmund look crude, but it cost a lot more than $84.

 

Perhaps it was on a trip with that class that I first saw the 24" Boller and Chivens at Pine Mountain, which was incredibly massive. For many years I thought that would be the ultimate personal telescope (only much later did I really understand the limitations that a long focal length cass would have, especially in a heavy tube). 

 

I didn't really see a lot of others after that, until I started working in the telescope shop. For some reason we didn't shop much at Sears. I probably saw some Focals at K-mart, and maybe some other Tascos at Meier and Frank, but nothing stood out as notable in comparison to the Edmund and the Questar. 

 

Chip W. 


Edited by ccwemyss, 21 December 2021 - 10:52 PM.

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#30 photiost

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Posted 21 December 2021 - 11:21 PM

The 60mm Towa refractor which I got when I was 12 yrs old.

 

A bit later I joined our club and they already had the Celestron Orange C14 in the Observatory Dome .... what a sight !!


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#31 deSitter

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Posted 21 December 2021 - 11:42 PM

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

There was some other outfit with similar legs - Optical Craftsmen or Starliner?

 

Listen to us - we all did the same thing as kids, drool over catalogs and dream :)

 

-drl



#32 luxo II

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Posted 22 December 2021 - 01:26 AM

9” refractor at Sydney Observatory, when I was a kid. Saw the planetarium show a few times too, before it was dismantled.
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#33 dave253

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Posted 22 December 2021 - 02:07 AM

Luxo, did you ever go to Port Macquarie observatory?
We used to holiday there in the 70s, they had a 5” refractor, I believe it was a Dollond.
That’s where I got hooked! 



#34 luxo II

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Posted 22 December 2021 - 02:50 AM

No .. never went that far in my youth.

But then at high school a group of us restored a Cooke 1880 4.5” refractor complete with its equatorial mount. A magnificent refractor and fine performer.
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#35 dgreyson

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Posted 22 December 2021 - 01:02 PM

Do you mean the first classic telescope I saw, or the first telescope I saw that is now a respected
classic?

Because Unitron (and Tasco) refractors were absolutely not classics when I saw them, just a bump in the flood of poorly regarded cheap Japanese exports.

The first classic telescope I saw was the 26 inch refractor at the naval observatory in Washington DC. The moons of Mars were first confirmed with it. I was bored at a reception hosted by Madam Chiang Kai-shek at the Republic of China's embassy and skipped out to go sight seeing with Mom. Aunt Mildred lived in the neighborhood so it was an easy sell to stop by the observatory on the way to visit her nearby.
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#36 Terra Nova

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Posted 22 December 2021 - 02:36 PM

Either a friend’s 3” F10 Edmund  Newtonian or another friend’s grandfather’s Questar. I can’t remember which it was as they were both around the same time in 1964, and they both had quite an effect on me. Yep, hooked ever since!


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#37 Defenderslideguitar

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Posted 22 December 2021 - 03:03 PM

Another good thread   especially at this time of year.....

 

I remember   the department stores     had various small to medium refractors  1964ish   One  was  EJ Korvettes

where they had them on a shelf in the camera section near the Hi Fi stuff....

 

Christmas   we think it was 1965  because my older brother got the Beatle album with the umbrellas  Beatles 65 and what was one of those early stereos that looked like a little suitcase and the two separate speakers folded out etc  hence stereo not mono   and at that Christmas, age 7  I got a white Telescope with  black trim and wooden tripod legs and some odd pullout variable lens however it      served me well for the first views of the moon,   and fake Mars........What I first thought was Mars was actually a red light on a radio tower  the next town over.......... later on  we actually found real Mars      unlike the Radio tower it moved   later  Jupiter and Saturn

 

Years later we learned it was a 60mm Tasco  5vte  

Attached Thumbnails

  • Tas co5vteIMG_3998.jpg

Edited by Defenderslideguitar, 22 December 2021 - 03:06 PM.

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#38 icomet

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Posted 22 December 2021 - 05:40 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 scope I posted an image of and this information is my 12.5" f/7 Cave Astrola

 

This image doesn't have the original c-wt on it. I just got around to redoing it the other day.

 

Clear Skies.

Attached Thumbnails

  • Cave Astrola 1sm.jpg

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#39 Mike Q

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Posted 22 December 2021 - 07:00 PM

The first scope I saw period, and I assume it is a classic was Big Blue at the Warren Rupp Observatory in Bellview Ohio. It's a 36 inch reflector and it does give you a WOW moment

#40 Lagrange

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Posted 22 December 2021 - 07:06 PM

The first classic scope I remember seeing, and certainly the first one I ever had a chance to look through was the 1869 6" Cooke refractor in the photo below (taken in 1901 I believe when the scope was moved to its current location). It gave me my very first view of Saturn which I can still remember quite vividly.

 

gallery_25614_18521_97737.jpeg

 

It's still in use and was refurbished a few years ago. Thankfully the original fittings and clockwork drive mechanism have been retained and still work.


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#41 icomet

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Posted 22 December 2021 - 07:20 PM

Lagrange.

Do you still wear those high collars like the one you have on in the photo?   grin.gif

 

Clear Skies.


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#42 Lagrange

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Posted 22 December 2021 - 07:25 PM

Lagrange.

Do you still wear those high collars like the one you have on in the photo?   grin.gif

 

Clear Skies.

Haha. Of course I do!

 

I'm every bit as dapper as I was 120 years ago.

 

Clear skies, and God Save the King!


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#43 BarabinoSr

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Posted 24 December 2021 - 01:54 PM

Merry Christmas My Friends!  The first classic telescope I saw in person  was a Tasco 7TE-5  scope iset up in a display window of the old Nash Roberts instruments store on  Royal Street in the French Quarter of New Orleans . I visited the store quite a few times.This was back in September of  1971,and I wanted it . Ultimately I settled on getting a tabletop model 6TE-5 100x . at that time. An awesome small scope !!waytogo.gif Gary!


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#44 Steve C.

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Posted 24 December 2021 - 03:01 PM

Four-inch Unitron on weight-driven equatorial mount, at the then-San Antonio College Planetarium. Later on I became a student assistant at that same planetarium and set it up for the show patrons, along with two RV-6 Dynascopes.


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#45 barbie

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Posted 24 December 2021 - 09:29 PM

A three inch Unitron on an EQ mount back in the mid 1970's!!


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#46 Lagrange

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Posted 25 December 2021 - 08:36 PM

The first classic scope I remember seeing, and certainly the first one I ever had a chance to look through was the 1869 6" Cooke refractor in the photo below (taken in 1901 I believe when the scope was moved to its current location). It gave me my very first view of Saturn which I can still remember quite vividly.

 

gallery_25614_18521_97737.jpeg

 

It's still in use and was refurbished a few years ago. Thankfully the original fittings and clockwork drive mechanism have been retained and still work.

As an addendum to this post I'd read some more about the history of the scope and thought it might provide some interesting context and perspective on amateur astronomy in the 19th century.

 

It was originally purchased from Thomas Cooke of York by Sir Thomas Bazley, High Sheriff of Gloucestershire, keen amateur astronomer and a gentleman of considerable means (and even more considerable sideburns) due to his father having made his fortune in the Manchester cotton industry. Sir Thomas bought the telescope as pictured complete with a clockwork driven GEM on a massive cast iron pillar together with various accessories and a sizeable wooden observatory to house it all, which now forms the upper level of the present day observatory. 

 

To give an idea of just how wealthy one had to be to own an instrument of this size and quality, there is a price listing for the same telescope from an 1886 Thomas Cooke catalogue which as far as I can tell should be similar to what Sir Thomas paid for his scope in 1869. It was available as either the basic Class II package for £260 or the deluxe Class 1 package (engraved silver verniers and other such luxuries) for £405 which were staggering sums of money at a time when the average working man in Britain would earn no more than around £50 in a year!

 

In 1877 Sir Thomas donated the scope and complete observatory to his friend Joseph Baxendale who was employed as a timekeeping astronomer and meteorologist, and who had conducted detailed observations of variable stars since 1836. Joseph installed the telescope in his garden in Southport and had an inscription from Psalms 19 painted around the base of the dome which can be seen in the photo and is still clearly visible today:

 

"THE HEAVENS DECLARE THE GLORY OF GOD, AND THE FIRMAMENT SHEWETH HIS HANDIWORK"

 

He used the scope until his death in 1887 and in 1901 it, together with the observatory were donated to the town by his son for educational purposes whereupon it was installed atop a specially built brick structure located at the highest point of a nearby public park. Somehow it survived the years without being, sold, scrapped, or destroyed by vandals and in 2017 it was restored back to the wonderful condition shown below:

 

gallery_25614_18521_9526.jpeg


Edited by Lagrange, 25 December 2021 - 08:37 PM.

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#47 Terra Nova

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Posted 26 December 2021 - 02:01 PM

That is indeed a very beautiful instrument! It is the epitome of classic Victorian craftsmanship.


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#48 eric_zeiner

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Posted 28 December 2021 - 02:21 PM

The first one that I saw was a 5" Bausch and Lomb reflector that a very kind CN'r let me borrow when I was without a scope.  I don't know it's age but it was a fine performer and I had many great night's with it.



#49 bierbelly

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Posted 30 December 2021 - 10:42 AM

Do you mean the first classic telescope I saw, or the first telescope I saw that is now a respected
classic?

Because Unitron (and Tasco) refractors were absolutely not classics when I saw them, just a bump in the flood of poorly regarded cheap Japanese exports.

The first classic telescope I saw was the 26 inch refractor at the naval observatory in Washington DC. The moons of Mars were first confirmed with it. I was bored at a reception hosted by Madam Chiang Kai-shek at the Republic of China's embassy and skipped out to go sight seeing with Mom. Aunt Mildred lived in the neighborhood so it was an easy sell to stop by the observatory on the way to visit her nearby.

Lived in the DC area most of my life, and have still never seen it.  I did hang around the U of MD observatory on Mezerott Road and looked through their 20".


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#50 bierbelly

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Posted 30 December 2021 - 10:45 AM

Another good thread   especially at this time of year.....

 

I remember   the department stores     had various small to medium refractors  1964ish   One  was  EJ Korvettes

where they had them on a shelf in the camera section near the Hi Fi stuff....

 

Christmas   we think it was 1965  because my older brother got the Beatle album with the umbrellas  Beatles 65 and what was one of those early stereos that looked like a little suitcase and the two separate speakers folded out etc  hence stereo not mono   and at that Christmas, age 7  I got a white Telescope with  black trim and wooden tripod legs and some odd pullout variable lens however it      served me well for the first views of the moon,   and fake Mars........What I first thought was Mars was actually a red light on a radio tower  the next town over.......... later on  we actually found real Mars      unlike the Radio tower it moved   later  Jupiter and Saturn

 

Years later we learned it was a 60mm Tasco  5vte  

I think that was the first scope I had. Stupid slide out variable power lens. My brother still has it.  I had Mr. Machine too.


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