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Charles Frank Cardboard draw tube refractor...


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About 60 years ago (in a galaxy far far away!) my Dad bought me a Charles Frank refractor which consisted of two cardboard tubes. At the front of the bigger tube was a single bi-convex objective lens (uncoated) at the other end of the smaller tube a lump of rubber with a tiny little eye lens molded into it.

It was advertised in one of the daily papers in a little ad in the classified section.

Everything viewed showed red and blue fringes but It got me hooked on this hobby.

Anyone else have the same beinnings?

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A worthy instrument if it got you hooked on this wonderful hobby. 👍 As part of my ‘O’ level in astronomy way back in 1982, I built a refractor made from a Woolworth magnifying glass lens and cardboard tube which used to contain a bottle of Glenffidich Whisky. It was awful! Fortunately I was lucky enough to already have a Charles Frank reflector, so the Frankenscope didn’t last long. 😁

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Back in the 1950s, I bought a long focus lens of about 50-inches from the H.W.English catalogue, which was a veritable Alladin’s cave of government surplus items. My interest in astronomy was fired by a little astronomy book in the school library, with the enchanting title “ The Star-Spangled Sky”, authored by a vicar.

The “ objective” lens was about three-and-a- half inches in diameter. It was very thin  like a big convex/concave spectacle lens. My dad, who had no interest in astronomy, made me a main tube ( no glare stops ) with a simple push-pull inner tube, a simple AltAz mounting and a tripod- all in cold steel at the local engineering firm where he worked.

The eyepiece, also acquired from the English catalogue, was a flawless big brass gunsight eyepiece, which I reckon yielded a magnification of about 50X. Aged twelve, on a warm summer evening while it was still light, I pointed the crude ‘scope at a gibbous moon. It was a revelation. I was astounded to see the lunar craters and mountains for the first time. This was followed by an overpowering feeling that I could travel anywhere in the Universe with my newly-acquired refractor.

Surprisingly, I didn’t notice any chromatism from the non-achromatic “objective”. This crude instrument inspired two friends to take up astronomy as a hobby. One made a four-inch reflector and the other a eight-inch reflector ( followed by a fifteen-inch reflector, but which was never completed due to him emigrating ).All the ‘scopes were fitted with bought out optics. Since then, I’ve never lost interest in our beautiful hobby.. .

 

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5 hours ago, fwm891 said:

About 60 years ago (in a galaxy far far away!) my Dad bought me a Charles Frank refractor which consisted of two cardboard tubes. At the front of the bigger tube was a single bi-convex objective lens (uncoated) at the other end of the smaller tube a lump of rubber with a tiny little eye lens molded into it.

It was advertised in one of the daily papers in a little ad in the classified section.

Everything viewed showed red and blue fringes but It got me hooked on this hobby.

Anyone else have the same beinnings?

That is interesting Francis. I looked through a friends cardboard Charles Frank refracting telescope in 1960 maybe 1961 and I was hooked. I bought this telescope and here it is mounted on my 6" wooden tube newtonian reflector dated 1972. Not sure what happened to it.

secondtelescope.aug72.jpg

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I to started with the Charles Frank cardboard 2" refractor in 1961/2.

The objective was a 2" 1 dioptre spectacle blank singlet lens ( f20 !) . I think it was around x50 with the basic single "eyepiece" in the rubber bung. I added a small lens to the end of the "bung" to get a bit more power.

I built a simple Alt-Az mount for it in woodwork class, and then later a wooden EQ mount ( based on the illustration in Norton's Star Atlas!). My dad then made me a metal Alt-Az on a pipe in the garden - Thanks Dad!!

Ahhhh, those were the days. I sometimes wish I'd just stayed with that scope I could have saved thousands $$$ over the years!!!!

 

Fank refractor and wooden EQ 1962.jpg

Frank 2inch on wooden EQ 1962.jpg

Fank refractor and metal Alt-Az 1963.jpg

Edited by Merlin66
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My earliest telescope views were through a Charles Frank telescope but in my case it was the 8 1/2 inch newtonian that my school owned and I got to use by joining the school astronomy club. This would have been around 1971 / 72:

This image was posted by @paulastro a while back:

2916396_20200209_110957A.thumb.jpg.3e675af6ba6374c66989c56fd969a7ca.jpg

Back then, the best that I could do personally was to borrow my mates Tasco 60mm refractor. I later saved enough to buy a used one of my own, which I still have:

 

 

tasco01.JPG

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20 hours ago, fwm891 said:

Anyone else have the same beinnings?

Can't be sure that mine was a Charles Frank but it would have been 60 years ago that my parents bought me a black cardboard tubed refractor via the 'Look and Learn' magazine. I remember well that I had to be VERY careful when focussing inwards as it was all too easy to blow the single lens off the front as the white plastic retaining ring was not a great fit!!

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3 hours ago, steppenwolf said:

Can't be sure that mine was a Charles Frank but it would have been 60 years ago that my parents bought me a black cardboard tubed refractor via the 'Look and Learn' magazine. I remember well that I had to be VERY careful when focussing inwards as it was all too easy to blow the single lens off the front as the white plastic retaining ring was not a great fit!!

Yes I remember blowing the lens off the front too. Lots of tape I remember using now...

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