Optical Craftsman 4.5"

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Brand and Model:Optical Craftsman 4.5"
Price ($USD):($135 in 1965)
Attributes: un-checked Go-To un-checked PEC
Aperture:108mm (4.3")
f Ratio:f/10
Focal Length:1079mm
Electric Power:AC
Weight (lbs):lbs.
Dimensions (w/h/d):
Description:This scope is no longer made. The 1965 mirror recently tested at 1/10 wave

PTV. Quality optics with some compromises (single stalk diagonal, mirror cell leaves something to be desired). The RA drive added another $65 to the price. Analog setting circles were reasonably accurate. This was a rock solid German Equatorial Mount for this aperture--it was designed for the 6 and 8" scopes. Cast metal rings forming a rotatable tube saddle. Optical Craftsman was a quality name of the 1960s but the company never got a hold of the market like Cave. It migrated away from amateur scopes into Defense and space program optics. I'm indebted to this scope for launching me into amateur astronomy--never dreamed I'd own a 14" but I do! How things have changed! RA drive is an AC synchronous motor--primitive for today but it still works. I'm anxious to get this scope rehabilitated and compare it to other 4" aperture scopes. I will say that the scope set a standard for quality that is rarely met by today's mass production scopes. The mount pointed and held wherever I wanted it to, damping time was never an issue. It was a real shock when I re-entered the hobby to see how poor some contemporary mounts are.

Vote Highlights Vote
Optical Craftsman 4.5"
Somehow I didn't get to vote after writing the description. I should say that the offical model name was "Altair." Optical Craftsman, in addition to larger apertures, sold a 3" and another 4.25" called the Regulus. The Regulus was a bit stripped down compared to the 4.25 but I don't remember how. The 3" was typically used as a guide scope but for a short time was sold also on a mount.

Optical Craftsman also sold a line of short focal ratio scopes, I believe in 6" and 8" apertures. In that era they were called Rich Field Telescopes. RFTs are now more or less the norm--we call them fast dobs these days. The Optical Craftsman line did prove that there's nothing wrong with observing at f/10 (which of couse was standard for the era). In those days guys with 10" and 12" scopes would arrive at star parties with these huge tubes strapped into their pickup trucks....an awesome sight, if you were ten.

Overall Rating: 10
Weight: 1 (Unreliable Vote)
Link to this vote: http://excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=41424

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