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casemonster

My 4" refractor is an Irving?

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..It is an old thing reminiscent of the 1960's and over the year I have had it I have wondered who made it. Maybe I am being a little unobservant (not a good thing for astronomy!!) but noticed on the underside of the focuser casting the name "Irving" cast into the metal. Either it mearly has an Irving Focuser or the whole thing is a classic British H.N.Irving scope.

I know I have posted a similar photo to this before but here it is again and would love to hear from anyone that might be able to enlighten me?

many thanks

Chris

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That certainly is one of Ron Irving's focusers, but I believe that the scope itself is one of Henry Wildey's. :D

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That certainly is one of Ron Irving's focusers, but I believe that the scope itself is one of Henry Wildey's. :)

Hi, have you seen other Henry Wildey scopes? I am really interested in finding out about this old piece of history.

By the way, it does work and with the long focal length is quite nice. It probably doesn't look very big but trust me is is long and quite heavy. The legs do not retract!! so difficult getting in and out of the house without hitting something on the way out, usually the the finder which often needs resetting. I will take a picture of it nest to me to give you some scale!! It isn't easily portable due to its length!

It is nice having a piece of telescope history and with two of the best English telescope makers parts this makes it even more special

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Hi Nadeem,

Interesting read and it seems the Wildley's scopes and lenses are something to be prized.

I have looked at some images and the two obituaries for Ron Irving and Henry Wildley but there isn;t that much more info and no photo's of my scope, would love to know more.

I feel like I should polish up the brass and take a bit more care of it!!

Out with the brasso it is then!!

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Hi, I have taken a couple of extra shots of the scope with me in the shot to give some idea of scale and detail of the Irving focuser.

Hope this is of interest and can spark some interest.

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what kind of views are you getting with this quite charming old refractor

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To be really honest, the scope is suited to planetary observing only. It will give a lovely view of Jupiter with detectable shades of light and dark when using the 9.7ep. I have a 6mm but it is pushed to far with this one.

Saturn is very sharp at 9.7 and the rings a clearly visible but the cassini division is not visible even with the 6mm. I find the best magnification is the 12 or 9.7mm for planets.

Everything else is better with less magification. Stars are not pinpoints of light and show a line or two rather than round dots at 9.7mm or 6mm. they are bearable at 12mm and better at 20mm. I am guessing that the scope needs properly setting up or I have reached the maximum useable star magnification at 20mm.

Nebulas show well enough and are better at 20mm.

Star clusters are best at 20mm as well and I have 40mm Plossl on the way.

Hey, it was only £30 from a boot fair...it is what it is and good enough until I decide on my next scope.

Would like to hear about the star lines I am getting at high magnification if anyone knows. I am not set up to image so can't help

Chris

Edited by casemonster

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If your stars are not round but elongated then the scope is not collimated, also look at using 1.25 eyepieces if your not already doing so

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Hi Nightfisher,

Just had alook around and found this Refractor Collimation

Which I am guessing is what I need to do.

I am seeing the same as the focused image but with the lines to the right.

All the three screws are fully out and I am guessing I will need to screw them in to start?

Should they have all been screwed in half way? should I screw them all in to this half way point and do I need to loosen off the three holding cell screws??

Help!!!!

cheers

Chris

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Hi, have you seen other Henry Wildey scopes? I am really interested in finding out about this old piece of history.

I've seen another 4" (not mine) which was a copy of yours, I owned a 5" rich field refractor (pictured), a smaller 3" for awhile, both were cosmetically the same design as yours. They can often be identified by the mid point trunions where it's placed on the mounting cradle & the long Japanese finder.

My understanding of Wildey instruments & optics is that if you get one of his earlier efforts, they can be very good...but if you have a later example, they are less consistent. I guess my limited experience has been of later examples, as of the 4 Wildey optics I have looked through only the short 5" was what I would consider good (in the case of a long focal length 5", it was dreadful).

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Edited by canuck

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Aha I can see some similarities with yours and mine, finder, mount, and objective mount (mine has a homemade dew shield). Thanks for posting this and the photos. Did yours have the irving focuser?

I am happy enough with mine for the interim. As soon as I get the collimation sorted I will let you know. However, as I have not looked through anything else I can't really say how it compares to a modern 4 or 5 inch acromat.

regards

Chris

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From what you say about your long-focus refractor, it doesn't perform very well. It might be a later Wildey objective that he made when he was going blind.

I have a Wildey 4"/f.12 objective that, back in the 1970s, I had to send off to AE for refiguring; now its a good performer. The Irving focuser works well too.

If I were you, I'd send off the objective to a reputable firm for testing and possible refiguring.

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In the picture of you holding the objective, it is the wrong way round if this is how it came out of its cell, the "thin" edge component should be on the sky side. Makes a big difference to the performance. Although the scope has a Wildey objective and an Irving focuser, the overall build and mount reminds me of those assembled by a chap who used to advertise in Exchange & Mart, his name escapes me at the moment but his phone number was always Perivale 0201. :)

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I may be able to add some information about your telescope. I have a 3 inch refractor which is identical to the one shown in your pictures, even has an Irving focusser. I bought it new in late 1979 from a Mr Wood who lived in Welwyn Garden City and traded from his home. He used to advertise 3 inch and 4 inch refractors in the Exchange and Mart. I believe he was still advertising in the late 1980s to early 1990s. I think he or an associate assembled the telescopes from parts. My telescope has an uncoated cemented doublet which he told me was made by Bausch and Lomb in Mill Hill.

I also have a 4inch Irving refractor which looks very different and is in a different class.

HTH

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I may be able to add some information about your telescope. I have a 3 inch refractor which is identical to the one shown in your pictures, even has an Irving focusser. I bought it new in late 1979 from a Mr Wood who lived in Welwyn Garden City and traded from his home. He used to advertise 3 inch and 4 inch refractors in the Exchange and Mart. I believe he was still advertising in the late 1980s to early 1990s. I think he or an associate assembled the telescopes from parts. My telescope has an uncoated cemented doublet which he told me was made by Bausch and Lomb in Mill Hill.

I also have a 4inch Irving refractor which looks very different and is in a different class.

HTH

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As Peter Drew noted, the objective is held the wrong way round, although of course, this doesn't mean that it was necessarily inserted that way.

According to Jim Hysom, who refigured it, Wildey's objective was a Fraunhofer military type. Before the objective was refigured, I was getting a "misty" effect on objects, particularly the Moon.

It turned out that the polishing was incomplete.

It was a pity that Wildey carried on making optics when his eyesight was failing, as it tended to mar his previous reputation for making good optics.

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Thanks for the extra information, even though it doesn't sound as though it may not be as exotic as I first thought!!:)

Peter, It does sound as though you may have the answer to my question then. Any chance of a photo?

I am intrigued by all this. So maybe not a wildley lens then.

Still not a great performer though, do you get round stars with yours? tried to collimate it but still no difference to higher mag performance. It will do me for the moment until my next scope.

regards

Chris

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Thanks Peter N, I'd been racking my brain cell all day for the name, it was Archie Wood. I had several telephone conversations with him over the years and actually visited him at his home on one occasion. He might not have been one of the best telescope suppliers but he was a most charming and polite man. :)

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I noticed that Casemonster's Wildey objective has a blackened edge. When I received my Wildey 4"/f.12 objective ( many moons ago ) it was neither blackened nor coated.

As a consequence of this, how much light could I be losing?

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I think uncoated optics generally lose 4% per surface, edge blackening is more of a reflection issue, still a good idea to blacken it as long as it doesn't take up all the clearance in the fit in the cell.

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The objective is a bit sloppy in its cell, but this doesn't seem to affect collimation. Henry Wildey said that he left the clearance to allow for painting the cell, but I've always been reluctant to do this.

Over time, flecks of paint would be sure to find their way between the doublet elements.

It took eighteen months to receive the 4" objective. After waiting three or so months, I wrote to Wildey to ask if there was a problem. His wife replied saying that her husband was in hospital with a broken back after a gliding accident, but that he would be back at the bench as soon as possible!

The O.G. cost £60, plus £40 to Jim Hysom for refiguring/polishing. I made a mounting in the engineering department at the local F.E. college. After all these years, I'm replacing the PVC tube I mounted the O.G. and focuser in for an aluminium one.

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Ha Ha....the paint is in fact black PVC insulating tape, an effect you can achieve with a 50p roll from your nearest B&Q. It has the letters "Ora " and the marking "//\\" on it too.

Am looking forward to recieving some nice views through a modern 5" or 6" refractor, when I have performed the requisite creeping!!

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