August 4, 2008 #018 - Kenneth F. Novak and Company, ATM

This is kind of a sad post. I was looking through some of my old telescope catalogs and thought about some of the telescopes I have built over the years. All of them have parts made by Kenneth Novak and Company of Ladysmith, Wisconsin. During the 70's I continued to purchase his components due to the high quality and artistry of his work.

I had not seen any advertisements for a long time in the astronomy magazines so I did a quick lookup on the net. Nothing. I decided to check the Ladysmith News and do a search. The following was found:

"Kenneth F. Novak, 63, Ladysmith, died Aug. 5, 2004, at home. He was born on May 29, 1941, at Ladysmith, the son of Frank and Margaret Novak. He lived in Chicago from 1960-1971, and graduated from DePaul University, Chicago, Ill. He was not married. He came to Rusk County in 1971. While in Chicago, Ken developed a keen interest in astronomy which led him to develop his own business as a manufacturer of telescope parts. He was proud of his yard and enjoyed planting trees and flowers. He was an avid photographer and loved the outdoors as his main focus. He belonged to Our Lady of Sorrows Catholic Church."

Kenneth will be missed by this old stargazer and I'm sure the ATM community that was active from the 70's up to the new century, but his craftsmanship will live on in thousands of home made telescopes.

Clear Sky - Rich


Anonymous said...

Sorry to hear about his death. I loved his telescope parts. I recently had a total house fire in which I lost a 10" mirror mount and secondary holder. I was researching replacement part costs when I came across your post. I will miss the quality and craftsmanship.

Fulton, KY

Anonymous said...

Just wanted to mention I was looking up this man to find out more. We had a mirror in a telescope that had his sticker on it from 1975. This was located in the Hector J Robinson Observatory. The mirror may have been refinished by him, but I'm not certain. Apparently a sticker means it may have been. I thought the mirror was refigured by a local astronomer who did the finished the figure of a 10, 8 and 4.25 inch telescope named Mike Manyak Jr. from Wyandotte Michigan. It could be that Mike Manyak sent the mirror out to Ken Novak who did the work for the 12.5 inch mirror and had it recoated. I don't know if Ken Novak put coats on mirrors. It's possible he did this, but I don't know. is my email address, you can wikipedia Hector J Robinson Observatory for more links and history. That mirror was fine, but it's been destroyed through lack of proper storage. We have the observatory back open with a C14 in there now.