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The first classic telescope you ever saw in person

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#76 CeeKay

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Posted 09 July 2022 - 07:50 AM

 

The question is an interesting one for me. I was not an amateur astronomer in my youth.  But I first saw a telescope in 1953 when I was 5 years old. I have quite clear memories though I may have some of the facts wrong.

 

My father was an oceanographer and things were less formal back then. A Japanese scientist was visiting and he wanted to visit the 200 inch on Mt Palomar. Through his connections my father arranged for a visit and it was a family affair. 

 

My recollection is the visiting scientist was named Dr. Takahashi but I might have that mixed up with another Japanese scientist who visited.

 

That was almost 70 years ago and the 200 inch was brand new. Since then, I've visited it many times. Today.. I think it qualifies as a Certified Cloudy Nights Classic.. it needs a plaque right there next to the bronze of Hale. smile.gif

 

 
 
 
 

 

 

It's the first telescope I ever saw and it's still the biggest telescope I've ever seen.

 

Jon

 

 

 

That was my first classic that I saw.  Took a day trip to the observatory back in the late 1980's to see it and walked away in awe.


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#77 bjkaras

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Posted 13 July 2022 - 12:59 AM

Meade's legs were based on Cave legs with the zig-zag gussets.  The prototypes were literrally cave legs with the gussets cut out with a saber saw, and the gussets with the round holes in them made out of particle board and bondo.  Meade legs never had the knobs at the top holding them to the pier.

Those are also the same legs I have on my 10” Parks.



#78 bjkaras

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Posted 13 July 2022 - 01:03 AM

That was my first classic that I saw.  Took a day trip to the observatory back in the late 1980's to see it and walked away in awe.

After I started showing an interest in astronomy my dad took me to Paloma to see it. I also got to see the Schmidt camera there. It just reinforces my interest.



#79 Exnihilo

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Posted 14 July 2022 - 10:52 AM

Here's a pic of Clyde Tombaugh with the 5" refractor which used to be in a dome at New Mexico State.  The pic is probably from the 1950s - 1960s.  This is actually the first "classic" telescope I ever used, although by the time I was in school at NMSU I had already owned a Tasco 7te, an 8-inch Newt, and a Unitron 60mm (at that time they weren't "classics").

 

It dates from the 1890s, I believe, not all that much before Clyde himself, but I don't know who was the manufacturer.  Note the manual RA/Dec slow motion controls routed to be conveniently at the eyepiece.  Back then, Clyde personally maintained the 5".

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  • Clyde_With_5_Inch_At_NMSU.jpg

Edited by Exnihilo, 14 July 2022 - 03:17 PM.

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#80 Sofia52

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Posted 15 July 2022 - 01:24 AM

The first classic telescope i saw in person is also my first telescope. It is this Tinsley Dall-Kirkham that i bought at a thrift store. It was built by a Herbert Friedman (his name is all over the scope and the DIY focuser made from an electrical conduit. I'm still looking for a proper mount for it. In the meantime this Hercules mount can more than take the weight. 

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#81 Astrobril

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Posted 20 July 2022 - 06:38 AM

The first real 'classic' I saw (although I didn't realize it at that time), was a small bronze, with a white painted tube, refractor (50mm, perhaps 60 or 63mm) that stood hidden away in one of the corners of science cabinet in secondary school around 1978. I recall that next to it stood a gorgeous celestial globe from around 1900. I asked the science teacher if I could take the refractor home for cleaning and to my surprise that was OK. I cleaned it, gazed with it at the Moon, and as I did, three goose passed in front of the lunar surface. It was breath taking and still a vivid memory. I don't recall the brand, but it must have been German, pre-WW1 I guess. Perhaps Steinheil.
Stupid me didn't take pictures of it and I completely lost track of it.


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#82 MarkMittlesteadt

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Posted 20 July 2022 - 10:57 AM

The famous giant refractor at the Yerkes Observatory on a private tour of the facilities. I also got to meet the engineer who works in the bowels of Yerkes who played a part in building the Hubble, where he showed me a new infrared scope where he was building a cooling system for it. Then I got to do a private imaging session with one of their professional astronomers using the 4ft. reflector on the other end of the building later that night. cool.gif


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#83 Richard O'Neill

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Posted 20 July 2022 - 03:26 PM

 The 1956 60x800mm alt-az fork mounted SPI I found under the family Christmas tree. smile.gif

I still have it. cool.gif

 

 

SPI 60x800mm Telescope

Edited by Richard O'Neill, 20 July 2022 - 03:50 PM.

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#84 MattT

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Posted 20 July 2022 - 08:42 PM

I grew up in an industrial part of NJ, and even in the 1970s light pollution was so bad over our home that stars were not a regular feature in our skies. The Moon, sure, but when Venus or Jupiter were bright in the evening sky we'd all look up and wonder.

 

One July the grown-ups packed up to partake in that great tradition, the cross-country trip to See America. California was the goal, though we never actually made it that far, running out of time (and, I suspected years later, budget) near the Nevada line. But we saw the Grand Canyon, and joined the ranger's evening constellation talk at the South Rim. And friends... my nine year old mind was blown. Never fully recovered, I think.

 

Suddenly, all I cared about was space. The Petrified Forest? Pfft. Dinosaur National Monument? Dinos were so last year. Old Faithful? More steam rose from the refineries I could see from my bedroom window. A Golden Guide to Astronomy was purchased at some National Park gift shop, and I read it so vigorously and repeatedly that it fell apart. Many years later I bought another of the same edition on the used market, just for the memories.

 

My family was working class but respected science, and saw this particular childhood obsession as one to encourage. They detoured off the route highlighted on the AAA Triptik, and took me to Meteor Crater. Wow, now that was something!

 

I think it might have been at Meteor Crater that they learned of public viewing at Lowell Observatory, and so...

 

The first telescope I think I literally ever looked through was the 24" Clark.


Edited by MattT, 20 July 2022 - 08:45 PM.

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#85 Etrsi_645

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Posted 20 July 2022 - 09:06 PM

The 11inch? refractor at University of Illinois, Champagne-Urbana.


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#86 Kasmos

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Posted 22 July 2022 - 12:57 PM

 The 1956 60x800mm alt-az fork mounted SPI I found under the family Christmas tree. smile.gif

I still have it. cool.gif

 

 

That is very cool! 

 

Does it have I-56 engraved on the focuser?

 

Have you seen this topic? More photos of yours would be a great addition. 

 

https://www.cloudyni...rs-who-made-em/


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#87 Richard O'Neill

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Posted 22 July 2022 - 04:47 PM

 Yes. The focuser is engraved with I-6, the serial number and four eyepiece magnifications, 40X, 64X, 88X and 132X.

 

  As noted in the above link, there were case, color and vendor variations in the 60x800mm line of Alt-Az mounted telescopes. I like them all but am particularly fond of ones that are exactly like mine, except the serial number. My SPI telescope was ordered from a 1956 Sears Christmas Wish Book.

 

  https://tinyurl.com/yc39z8mh  Click to enlarge.

 

Richard


Edited by Richard O'Neill, 22 July 2022 - 06:45 PM.

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#88 Kasmos

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Posted 23 July 2022 - 02:27 AM

Since we'd seen them marked I-56, and I-57, and then recently I-5, I figure it represented the year.

 

I didn't know Sears sold SPIs. It makes me guess that many of the ones we see were originally bought from them and good many of those were also likely Christmas gifts.



#89 bobhen

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Posted 23 July 2022 - 06:31 AM

The first antique/classic telescope I saw and looked through was at my club’s public star party some 25-years ago.

 

Someone brought a brass, and if memory servers me well, I believe it was 3 or 3.5” Brashear. The view of Saturn was very good indeed. Some might say a “classic” refractor view: clean, crisp and with excellent definition.

 

These days I guess I could count my 1965 60mm Sears refractor. Although it was new when I got it for Christmas back in ‘65, it would be classic now.

 

Bob


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#90 Richard O'Neill

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Posted 23 July 2022 - 07:21 AM

 I assume the single number was for the year. Perhaps on later productions the decade was added?

As good a guess as any, I suppose. wink.gif

 

PS. In earlier times, Sears sold just about everything anyone could want, including kit houses, delivered to your site!  https://tinyurl.com/3zrshu6c

 

  In the mid seventies, Burstein-Applebee advertised a 60X800mm Alt-Az mounted scope that looked like mine, though I only saw it pictured in their flyer adds, not their main catalog. At the time I assumed it was a special purchase of a closeout item. As I recall, the price was $79.95. The company mostly sold electronic equipment and a lot of parts. I wish they were still around.


Edited by Richard O'Neill, 23 July 2022 - 09:04 AM.


#91 Kasmos

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Posted 23 July 2022 - 03:13 PM

 I assume the single number was for the year. Perhaps on later productions the decade was added?

As good a guess as any, I suppose. wink.gif

 

PS. In earlier times, Sears sold just about everything anyone could want, including kit houses, delivered to your site!  https://tinyurl.com/3zrshu6c

 

  In the mid seventies, Burstein-Applebee advertised a 60X800mm Alt-Az mounted scope that looked like mine, though I only saw it pictured in their flyer adds, not their main catalog. At the time I assumed it was a special purchase of a closeout item. As I recall, the price was $79.95. The company mostly sold electronic equipment and a lot of parts. I wish they were still around.

From the examples we've seen SPI and Monolux marked them with the single digit for only the three years (55,56,57), and it appears they and most other brands of the same scope went to a foil sticker in '58 and dropped the year desigination.



#92 stargazerken

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Posted 06 August 2022 - 12:28 PM

The first telescopes I saw; which would be considered classics; were a display of Celestron SCTs at Colonial Photo and Hobby in Orlando. The store had one each of the models of the day, from C90 up to the C11 or 14, all the orange tube scope. I want to say the year was 1982. 
I currently have in my collection a 1982 Meade 2080 and a late 1980s Meade 2120 LX5. I still covet one of those early 80s C11s or 14s, but lack funds at this time to grab one. 


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#93 Defenderslideguitar

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Posted 09 August 2022 - 01:39 PM

Early 1960/s        at Department store   E J Korvettes    they were in the camera area  but up on shelves

 

Christmas   1964      received the Tasco 60mm 


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