August 18, 2008 #032 - First Telescope, Almost Lost Memory

As I was looking at the April 1957 Mechanix Illustrated site mentioned in post #031 yesterday a memory returned from deep down in the old cortex somewhere. I have discovered that writing down memories opens doors that have not been opened in many, many years! I had written before about my first scope being a 3" Edmund Reflector. That is not entirely true. An advertisement that I spotted in that article opened one of those doors. I remember seeing it before and getting my dad to buy it and put a scope together.

The word poor optics, bad optics, even worthless don't quite convey how it performed. Even Galileo had a better view of the heavens. Everything came in a box about 2"X 3"X 5 ". Essentially what arrived was a single glass objective lens about two and half inches in diameter with a simple two lens set to construct an eyepiece and also a typewritten set of instructions with a drawing. I wish I had kept these instructions. Dad did a good job of construction. He took some heavy cardboard tubes and cut rings with which to secure the objective lens and the eyepiece. His construction let you focus if that was what you could call it. If memory serves it was a fairly long scope, about 4 or 5 foot in length. The mount was anything that could be used for a rest, the fence, a porch rail, or the dog house in the back yard. The moon had no craters just dark blobs that I assume were the maria. Venus was a crescent but drawn more by Picasso than Chesley Bonestell.

I guess you could say that was my first lesson in advertising hype. To this day I look with suspicion at the tiny ads in the back of Popular Science and Popular Mechanics. But the small boy in me still looks and thinks wow remember the jet engine you bought from one of those adds it really worked, well kind of. But, what about the Pluto Platter from Wham-o (Now Frisbee) and the boomerang, they worked great!

Clear Sky - Rich

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