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60x800 Classic Refractors - Who Made 'Em?

Classic Equipment Refractor
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#1 Bomber Bob

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Posted 15 January 2022 - 04:58 PM

What a mess!  These all-black 60x800 refractors pop up fairly often.  A while back, I started calling them Old TOWAs, since some had features in common with the later (T) marked refractors.  But, are they really Towa scopes?

 

Here's a couple that I owned & tested...

 

MONOLUX:

 

Monolux 60x800 AZ S01.jpg

Monolux 60x800 AZ T07.jpg Monolux 60x800 AZ T10.jpg Monolux 60x800 AZ T04 - Finder.jpg

 

***  As I posted on the Ads Thread, one thing the all-black 60x800s (that I've tested!) have in common:  Excellent to Outstanding optics.  That makes nabbing one of these Thread Worthy!  ***


Edited by Bomber Bob, 15 January 2022 - 06:01 PM.

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#2 grif 678

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Posted 15 January 2022 - 05:25 PM

I have got a beautiful black tube 60 x 800, Celestron, and it says made in Japan on the drawtube, nothing else. I have wondered if it was made by Vixen, it has not got the Circle V logo, just made in Japan. It resembles the old C-80, with the pretty Orange logos on the tube. Does anyone know if it was a vixen scope, or who else could have made it.


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#3 jragsdale

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Posted 15 January 2022 - 05:31 PM

Here is my Monolux I-7 that certainly fits in this bucket.

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#4 Bomber Bob

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Posted 15 January 2022 - 05:31 PM

Asahi-Style Finder

 

Carton 60B P05 - Kit Unpacked (Asahi Finder CU).jpg

 

This is usually the first item that separates the genuine Asahi / Pentax 60x800 fracs from all the others.

 

NOTE:  It has that pretty chrome eyepiece assembly.  This one came with a Carton 60B -- a 60mm refractor that did not have an Asahi quality objective!


Edited by Bomber Bob, 15 January 2022 - 05:34 PM.

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#5 jragsdale

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Posted 15 January 2022 - 05:34 PM

Kasmos posted this in a thread once. Black Monolux I-6.

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#6 Bomber Bob

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Posted 15 January 2022 - 05:47 PM

Serial Numbers

 

Registry extract with Asahi as the Maker:

 

Asahi - Registry Extract P01.jpg

 

Note the 2 x MONOLUX entries with 149nnn serial numbers that fit in with the Asahi sequence...

 

Asahi - Registry Extract P02.jpg

 

Another interesting serial number sequence:

 

Asahi - Registry Extract P03.jpg

 

You can have FUN playing with the Registry!!


Edited by Bomber Bob, 15 January 2022 - 05:55 PM.

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#7 Bomber Bob

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Posted 15 January 2022 - 06:03 PM

Here is my Monolux I-7 that certainly fits in this bucket.

Dude!  Thanks for posting yours & Kasmos!  I missed that the Serial Number is engraved after the Model Number...  BOTH are Registered now...

 

About the MONOLUX versions:  Do y'all see any differences between the models I-6 and I-7??


Edited by Bomber Bob, 15 January 2022 - 06:10 PM.


#8 jragsdale

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Posted 15 January 2022 - 10:00 PM

Dude!  Thanks for posting yours & Kasmos!  I missed that the Serial Number is engraved after the Model Number...  BOTH are Registered now...

 

About the MONOLUX versions:  Do y'all see any differences between the models I-6 and I-7??

I don't think the I-6 was owned by Kasmos, I think he came across the photo online and shared it here.

 

Here is another scope, an SPI from this thread: https://www.cloudyni...-6-nihon-seiko/. This was 11 years ago where they debated the Nihon Seiko similarities. Worth note is my wooden case on my Monolux I-7 had the attached stamp, if that means anything to anyone.

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#9 jragsdale

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Posted 15 January 2022 - 10:10 PM

Here are photo's of Preston Smith's 1955 Astro Optical 50mm scope. I share this as a way to rule out ASC/AO as providence for these "Old Towa" scopes, there is almost zero similarities from top to bottom from Preston's scope to the other "Old Towa" ones. So that rules out Asahi and ASC/AO. Can we rule out Nihon Seiko as well?

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Edited by jragsdale, 15 January 2022 - 10:31 PM.

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#10 Terra Nova

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Posted 15 January 2022 - 10:29 PM

Maybe you’ve been right all along JW? They probably are just old Towas.


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#11 jragsdale

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Posted 15 January 2022 - 10:30 PM

The Monolux I-7 also came in white, and with a different case layout (possibly the 1000mm FL version?). Pics from ebay: https://www.ebay.com/itm/224681703901

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Edited by jragsdale, 15 January 2022 - 10:31 PM.

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#12 jragsdale

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Posted 15 January 2022 - 10:33 PM

Great discussion in this topic as well here: 

https://www.cloudyni...tax-connection/

https://www.cloudyni...62mm/?p=4932205


Edited by jragsdale, 15 January 2022 - 10:38 PM.


#13 Bomber Bob

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Posted 15 January 2022 - 10:41 PM

Ah!  Okay...

 

I-6 = 60x800

 

I-7 = 60x1000 (?)

 

About the 50mm F10 / F12 AZ fracs:  If it has a Serial Number, odds are it's ASC / AO.  If it doesn't, you have to do more digging.

 

For the 60x800s:  Yes, a few have white tubes, and a mix of Asahi & non-Asahi traits (I'm thinking of that Stein Towa that I gave to the Boy Scouts).  That scope is 100% Old Towa.  IIRC, the STEIN half of the brand is a vendor in Germany.

 

BIF:  SPACERS -- the Old Towa 60x800s usually don't have 3 foil spacers; instead, they use a metal (oldest) or vinyl (newer) band / ring element separator.

 

Ain't we got Fun??  [Where's my Grand Old Parr??]


Edited by Bomber Bob, 15 January 2022 - 10:46 PM.


#14 jragsdale

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Posted 15 January 2022 - 10:47 PM

Ah!  Okay...

 

I-6 = 60x800

 

I-7 = 60x1000 (?)

 

About the 50mm F10 / F12 AZ fracs:  If it has a Serial Number, odds are it's ASC / AO.  If it doesn't, you have to do more digging.

 

For the 60x800s:  Yes, a few have white tubes, and a mix of Asahi & non-Asahi traits (I'm thinking of that Stein Towa that I gave to the Boy Scouts).  That scope is 100% Old Towa.  IIRC, the STEIN half of the brand is a vendor in Germany.

 

BIF:  SPACERS -- the Old Towa 60x800s usually don't have 3 foil spacers; instead, they use a metal (oldest) or vinyl (newer) band / ring element separator.

 

Ain't we got Fun??  [Where's my Grand Old Parr??]

My I-7 is a 60x800. I haven't noticed any trends on the I-6 vs I-7 (and only one or two I-6 scopes so not much to compare to). And my mystery I-7 has foil spacers in the lens.

https://www.amazon.c...lAVEdBTYDRoVjYG


Edited by jragsdale, 15 January 2022 - 11:08 PM.


#15 Bomber Bob

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Posted 15 January 2022 - 11:10 PM

Maybe you’ve been right all along JW? They probably are just old Towas.

Well...  IMO, for about 20 years (1955 - 1975) TOWA exported some very good scopes; and, in the late 60s, Towa replaced AO & SYW as suppliers to Sears -- the 6305 & 6333 are well thought of today.

 

My I-7 is a 60x800.

 

Shoot!  Okay, I'm flummoxed on Monolux's model numbering...



#16 Kasmos

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Posted 15 January 2022 - 11:22 PM

I don't have time right now to get into it, but both of the focusers I posted in the ads thread were Asahi made Monolux scopes.

 

They usually have the six screws on the focuser but one doesn't and Russells Colonial didn't.

 

The color of the tube is not as important as the details as they did come in black or white. I have to double check my photos but the Black Asahis might always be Wrinkle Black


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#17 Bomber Bob

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Posted 15 January 2022 - 11:35 PM

Shoot!  I shoulda kept my all-black Monolux (S/N 11282).  Outstanding Lens; quality build; beautiful unmarred chrome focuser tube; and VG bundled accessories -- the diagonal had one of the largest prisms I've seen in a .965" version.  Previous owner(s) took way better than average care of it (there's usually a reason for that).


Edited by Bomber Bob, 15 January 2022 - 11:36 PM.

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#18 Kasmos

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Posted 16 January 2022 - 01:52 AM

I have got a beautiful black tube 60 x 800, Celestron, and it says made in Japan on the drawtube, nothing else. I have wondered if it was made by Vixen, it has not got the Circle V logo, just made in Japan. It resembles the old C-80, with the pretty Orange logos on the tube. Does anyone know if it was a vixen scope, or who else could have made it.

Without seeing it's hard to be 100% certain but it's very likely one of the ones that were made by DK. It may even have the intials on the bottom of the focuser. It appears that DK worked with Vixen on the entry level stuff and some of the scopes have parts that you can ID from both makers. The same can be said of some other brands.


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#19 Kasmos

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Posted 16 January 2022 - 02:21 AM

I don't think the I-6 was owned by Kasmos, I think he came across the photo online and shared it here.

 

Here is another scope, an SPI from this thread: https://www.cloudyni...-6-nihon-seiko/. This was 11 years ago where they debated the Nihon Seiko similarities. Worth note is my wooden case on my Monolux I-7 had the attached stamp, if that means anything to anyone.

Yes the focuser you posted in post #5 is not mine and belongs to Badback. 

 

I've read it before and have it bookmarked but now only briefly scanned that thread on the SPI and it's way offf base. I can't understand how just because the legs on the tripod are similar anyone could think they are from NS. The EPs are similar but not the same, and the only thing the mounts have in common are the spring tubes which are completely manufactured differently. 

 

It's old post like that, that contribute to the misinformation that keeps being passed on.

 

Quickly looking at that  thread I noticed that the black SPI had a wrinkle finish. I was pretty sure I'd seen some, but earleir I didn't have time to look at anything other than a Monolux.

 

The stamp in your box might only be the cabinet makers stamp. My Crescent Towa has a paper stamp that is a cabinet makers stamp. The funny thing was when researching them on line I found Sthepan on a Japanese Stamp site asking about them.

 

BTW, I'm posting a bit out of sequence since earlier I didn't have time to go thru and make comments.


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#20 badback

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Posted 16 January 2022 - 02:55 AM

dink.jpg

 

If you'll noticed this dinkerscope has "interesting", large black discs

behind the focus wheels. When my brain was younger I thought

I knew their purpose but now... scratchhead2.gif

Anybody???  smiley-char145.gif


Edited by badback, 16 January 2022 - 02:59 AM.

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#21 Kasmos

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Posted 16 January 2022 - 03:06 AM

Another thing, I'm glad you guys mentioned the I-7  I-6 thing as I've also seen that on 800mm and 1000mm scopes. Somewhere in all this mess someone mentioned perhaps it's the year. I was wondering the same. Maybe we've only seen the I-6 and I-7 because they didn't do it before and stopped marking them that way after 1957? It does seem like most scopes of this type came with a foil label came after '57.

 

As for foil vs ring spacers, it depends on what style objective cell is used. 

Cells-Side by side.jpg

The cell on the top has a metal ring spacer and all of them I've seen and kept photos of do

The cell on the bottom uses foil spacers and the same can be said of them

 

Cells800.jpg

Here's another shot of the cells

The one on the left is from my Crescent (marked Towa)

The one on the right from a Selsi and it came with only a unmarked Selsi focuser.

From the Lafayette ads it appears the cell style change took place in 1958

but I seen scopes that don't seem to follow this rule.

 

Don't confuse this Crecent's cell with most typical Towa cells.

It has a different retainer, it's lens placement is further forward and it's chunkier.

Stephan dated their use as being from 1959 thru '61

but as mentioned, some of the 1958 Lafayette ads show them. 

Crescent-T-Cells-Shields.jpg

Here, the Crescent is on top and the bottom is from my 1963 9TE

The '63 9TE type of cell probably wea first used in '61 or '62 and seems to have been used up thru the 70s.

The weird thing is some later Towas have a big fat clunky cell and it seems not to be completely tied to a year.


Edited by Kasmos, 16 January 2022 - 03:08 AM.

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#22 jragsdale

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Posted 16 January 2022 - 03:08 AM

If you'll noticed this dinkerscope has "interesting", large black discs

behind the focus wheels. When my brain was younger I thought

I knew their purpose but now... scratchhead2.gif

Anybody???  smiley-char145.gif

On my I-7 scope the black washers were attached under the tripod hub to secure the main bolt to the mount. That seems like the correct usage spot as there's another similar SPI scope from greju posted in 2011 that shows them in the same spot. They probably don't have any use behind the focus knobs though, maybe the original owner put the scope together wrong?  

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Edited by jragsdale, 16 January 2022 - 03:20 AM.

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#23 jragsdale

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Posted 16 January 2022 - 03:45 AM

Another one from Stargoat...

 

Also, I'm thinking the 800mm versions are black and the 1000mm versions are white? I read that mentioned by Chuck Hards just now in another thread.

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Edited by jragsdale, 16 January 2022 - 03:46 AM.

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#24 Kasmos

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Posted 16 January 2022 - 04:00 AM

Another one from Stargoat...

 

Also, I'm thinking the 800mm versions are black and the 1000mm versions are white? I read that mentioned by Chuck Hards just now in another thread.

While most of the SPI 60/800mms that show up are black I found two that are white.

SPI-GW-05 copy.jpg

6324-2 copy.jpg


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#25 jragsdale

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Posted 16 January 2022 - 04:05 AM

While most of the SPI 60/800mms that show up are black I found two that are white.

attachicon.gifSPI-GW-05 copy.jpg

attachicon.gif6324-2 copy.jpg

Both of those diverged from the I-6/I-7 naming convention and the engraved focusers, so maybe those are a later model? There's a lot of other changes in the case and tripod legs as well on those.


Edited by jragsdale, 16 January 2022 - 04:07 AM.

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