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What is this refractor?

Equipment Refractor
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#1 mstatti

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Posted 13 June 2022 - 06:22 PM

Hello everyone,

 

I have looked through many cloudynights forums for the last year or so but I never really needed to make an account, until now.

 

Recently I picked up this huge refractor from an antique market that caught my eye, but there are no markings whatsoever on the scope or the box so I am stumped on who, when, or where this was made.

 

Back view of whole telescope
Front view of whole telescope
Side view of finderscope
Back view of finderscope and focuser
Front view of primary lens
Front view of finderscope

 

The scope is ~6 feet long, and the lens is ~140mm in diameter. The guide scope is ~2 feet long and is ~50mm in diameter. Both scopes are made of brass and have a black coat of paint over the tubes. The primary lens has specks on it which I believe is silver tarnishing which means the telescope is at least made in the early 1900's.

 

Aluminum lens holder(may be replacement)
Back view of finderscope and focuser
Focuser (with a possibly replaced focusing tube)

 

What is most interesting and confusing about this telescope is that there are parts on the telescope that are made out of aluminum, which leads me to believe that at some point, certain parts of the scope were replaced.

 

Telescope Box
side handle of the box

 

Here are images of the box it came with. Another thing of note is that there is also what seems to be a pier adapter made out of brass that is also in the box, but the seller did not have a mount for sale.


Edited by mstatti, 13 June 2022 - 06:48 PM.

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#2 Couder

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Posted 13 June 2022 - 06:36 PM

Don't know what it is, but I do know the focuser is not a Clark. The aluminum parts could be original, or made to replace original that was defective or bent or whatever. 



#3 RalphMeisterTigerMan

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Posted 13 June 2022 - 06:59 PM

It almost looks like one of John Brashear's scopes. He is one of the not so well known achromat refractor makers from the late 1800's and early 1900's.

 

Clear skies and keep looking up!

RalphMeisterTigerMan



#4 Linn

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Posted 13 June 2022 - 07:05 PM

I know nothing about antique scopes, but welcome to CN! You will give the experts something to discuss. 


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#5 John O'Hara

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Posted 13 June 2022 - 07:11 PM

It almost looks like one of John Brashear's scopes. He is one of the not so well known achromat refractor makers from the late 1800's and early 1900's.

 

Clear skies and keep looking up!

RalphMeisterTigerMan

If a Brashear, it likely has a good objective.  Not sure how it would compare to a Clark, but Brashear had a good reputation as well.  The Amateur Astronomers Association of Pittsburgh has an 11-inch Brashear in their Wagman Observatory, and it's an excellent performer.


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#6 kjkociba

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Posted 13 June 2022 - 07:14 PM

With the mix of materials and zeiss(ish) lock, Almost looks like a gaertner or central scientific. Similar to one I saw a few years back. Anyone have one to compare?
Some old catalogues on Gutenberg.

https://www.gutenber...7-h/27477-h.htm
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#7 james7ca

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Posted 13 June 2022 - 07:45 PM

Is that a leather lens cap?



#8 mstatti

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Posted 13 June 2022 - 08:05 PM

Thanks for all of the replies!

It almost looks like one of John Brashear's scopes. He is one of the not so well known achromat refractor makers from the late 1800's and early 1900's.

 

Clear skies and keep looking up!

RalphMeisterTigerMan

This may be the case but when looking at similarly size telescope I can find 3 discrepancies: the finder scopes are much smaller, the dew shields are much smaller, the mounting method is more of a cradle whereas my telescope has these "half" rings.

The half tube rings with screws

 

Is that a leather lens cap?

Yes those are leather lens caps, they are very nice!
 


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#9 kjkociba

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Posted 14 June 2022 - 07:00 AM

I have a question that in my opinion is just as important (or more so in some cases) than who made it… how are the views?! :)
I have a couple of scopes in my collection who’s makers are lost to the annuals of history, but perform wonderfully! I always enjoy the two halves of the classic scope coin… Enjoying the scope, and enjoying the sleuthing for who, when, and where!
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#10 NinePlanets

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Posted 14 June 2022 - 07:57 AM

I have a real hard time accepting that the telescope had those aluminum parts when it was new.

 

I strongly suspect someone later added the adjustable lens cell in an effort to improve it, as well as perhaps repairing/strengthening/improving the tailpiece. Certainly, what look like Allen head screws on the lens cell are NOT original.

 

But I defer to the more knowledgeable collectors among us, of course.


Edited by NinePlanets, 14 June 2022 - 08:00 AM.

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#11 Dave Trott

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Posted 14 June 2022 - 08:29 AM

I have to agree with NinePlanets. The aluminum parts and maybe some of the brass parts appear to be replacements for the originals. Too bad because there may have been some engraving on the tailpiece. 

 

I recommend that you post to the Antique Telescope Society Yahoo Group. Someone there may recognize the scope or some parts of the scope.

 

Antique Telescope Society Yahoo Group:

 

https://ats-forum.gr....io/g/ATS-Forum

 

You don't have to be a member but your first post may have to be approved by a moderator.

 

You may want to show a picture of the pier adapter. That could be a valuable hint.


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#12 kjkociba

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Posted 14 June 2022 - 09:01 AM

Sound advice David… Hmm… Looking at the silver parts, curious if it’s actually aluminum, German Silver or nickel plated brass?
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#13 Kasmos

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Posted 14 June 2022 - 02:15 PM

I have to agree with NinePlanets. The aluminum parts and maybe some of the brass parts appear to be replacements for the originals. Too bad because there may have been some engraving on the tailpiece. 

 

I recommend that you post to the Antique Telescope Society Yahoo Group. Someone there may recognize the scope or some parts of the scope.

 

Antique Telescope Society Yahoo Group:

 

https://ats-forum.gr....io/g/ATS-Forum

 

You don't have to be a member but your first post may have to be approved by a moderator.

 

You may want to show a picture of the pier adapter. That could be a valuable hint.

Dave, the link doesn't work so I copied and pasted it and Google linked it to the American Truck Simulator Forum! smile.png

 

Three results down was a CN thread with this link:

 

https://ats-forum.gr....io/g/ATS-Forum



#14 Terra Nova

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Posted 14 June 2022 - 03:06 PM

The aluminum cell with the sets of push-pull screws has a decidedly modern look. The design is classic Vixen and could have been copied. I would highly suspect that the cell and most likely the objective are replacements. In that case, the objective maybe came from Jaegers?

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Edited by Terra Nova, 14 June 2022 - 03:08 PM.

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#15 NinePlanets

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Posted 14 June 2022 - 06:15 PM

I make my cells pretty much the same way. I believe the design is pretty universal.

 

 

 

 

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#16 Terra Nova

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Posted 15 June 2022 - 07:58 AM

I make my cells pretty much the same way. I believe the design is pretty universal.

Nice work. Yes, fairly universal but also I think late 20th century, embodied by the 1990s 4” Vixens. I do not think that is an antique cell.

 

I still think the scope is a kludged mix of old and contemporary, the aluminum objective cell and the aluminum focuser plate both being made in relatively recent times in order to put a focuser and an objective on the old main tube.


Edited by Terra Nova, 15 June 2022 - 08:01 AM.

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#17 NinePlanets

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Posted 15 June 2022 - 08:04 AM

I still think the scope is a kludged mix of old and contemporary, the aluminum objective cell and the aluminum focuser plate both being made in relatively recent times in order to put a focuser and an objective on the old main tube.

That's what I'm thinking too.


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#18 John O'Hara

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Posted 15 June 2022 - 09:36 AM

Classic or not, I'm anxious to hear how it performs smile.gif smile.gif


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#19 mstatti

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Posted 15 June 2022 - 10:55 AM

Classic or not, I'm anxious to hear how it performs smile.gif smile.gif

At the moment I can't really try because the way it mounts, I have never seen a mounting type like that before, and ever since it did not come with a mount, I think I will need to get some adapter to get it on one of my goto mounts. If anyone knows what I need to mount this telescope, please tell me! Also even if I get it mounted, the condition of the lens right now will not give good views...

Improved image of the primary lens
 
Here is also some improved images of the focuser and the possible pier adapter.
 
Possible pier adapter?
Improved focuser image
Improved focuser side image

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#20 John O'Hara

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Posted 15 June 2022 - 11:23 AM

If it were mine, I'd construct a "Richard Berry" style dob mount.  See this thread:  https://www.cloudyni...-for-refractor/

 

Of course, you'll want to see how the lens cleans up as well.


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#21 kjkociba

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Posted 15 June 2022 - 11:36 AM

a couple of my antique's have the 2 bolt mount.  Here is the cradle I machined in order to use the scopes original mount points on an old EQ I have.  

 

F3106157 99EE 4E59 897F A5848C2360B9
CAE8C563 E8ED 4598 AE7D 5DF53B66051B
C5F5B11E 8F2B 4585 B11E 9B62A2EA495C

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#22 mstatti

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Posted 15 June 2022 - 01:42 PM

If it were mine, I'd construct a "Richard Berry" style dob mount.  See this thread:  https://www.cloudyni...-for-refractor/

 

Of course, you'll want to see how the lens cleans up as well.

That sounds like something really fun to try! I do enjoy woodworking.

 

a couple of my antique's have the 2 bolt mount.  Here is the cradle I machined in order to use the scopes original mount points on an old EQ I have.  

 

This is also something I want to try, I just have to find a place that can do that nearby.

 

I might try both of these suggestions, but I believe I should first get the lenses cleaned. I went to a local star party recently and one person had an old reflector from around the same era that he got cleaned and re coated, I might ask him for some advice. It may take some time to get the right people to help me out, but in the mean time lets try to figure out more about this scope!
 


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#23 james7ca

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Posted 15 June 2022 - 06:43 PM

...Also even if I get it mounted, the condition of the lens right now will not give good views..

Well, at least you can tell that it is an air spaced objective.

 

Also, for the antique collectors, is it normal for a brass telescope to have its tube painted glossy black? That seems wrong to me.


Edited by james7ca, 15 June 2022 - 06:49 PM.


#24 kjkociba

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Posted 16 June 2022 - 08:16 AM

Depends on who made them. I’ve seen a few older brass scopes with black lacquer. Have one in my collection, believe mine to be a central scientific.
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#25 Bomber Bob

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Posted 16 June 2022 - 09:34 AM

My Mogey 3" used 2 bolts to attach a thicker-than-usual eyelet to the tube:

 

Mogey 3 - Tube Bracket Removed T02.jpg

 

I was not gonna drill new holes in the tube.  All my mounts use Vixen-style clamps, so I drilled 2 holes in a scrap aluminum bar, shaped it & lined the top with felt, and adapted this "cushion" to a standard dovetail:

 

Mogey 3 - Vixen Dovetail Mod (Meade SF Tall EQ) T02.jpg


Edited by Bomber Bob, 16 June 2022 - 09:35 AM.

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