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Home > Classifieds > Astromart Classifieds > Antiques ASTRO ONLY > Classified #265780

For Sale: Very Early 40 x 800 mm SPI Refractor

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This unusual item -- the only one of these that I have ever seen -- is a 40 x 800 mm SPI refractor imported from Japan by Southern Precision Instruments [still in business in Texas, but no longer importing telescopes] sometime in the late 1950s or early 1960s. It appears to be a close cousin to the early Unitrons, featuring the typical dual slow motion controls (see photo) and the fold up type tripod legs that characterized these instruments. The tube, like the altazimuth head, is finished in a distinctive black wrinkle finish, and the rack & pinion focuser is mounted at the end of a sliding drawtube.

This one, unfortunately, has had a pretty rough life, although all of the parts are there, including its original wooden case, and it works just fine. In addition to the standard star diagonal and porro prism common to all of these early scopes, there are the usual AH 20 mm and 6 mm Huygens oculars, and a tiny 5 x 20 mm finder. It's biggest "problem" is that its 40 mm cemented achromat is beginning to separate around one edge, but it still gives amazingly sharp images of the moon and planets. There is also some cosmetic damage to the OTA and to the main drawtube where someone used some inappropriate sized attaching screws on the mounting head and finder bracket, but I have gone back to smaller, brass thumb screws that are much closer to the originals.

All in all, this is a fascinating and highly collectable little telescope, but it is not in "perfect" condition. Balancing these two factors, I have no idea what it is really worth, but I do need to find another home for it.

Am asking serious collectors (or someone who just wants a truly unique and functional little scope) -- are there any out there? -- to make a reasonable offer. I'll split the shipping (via UPS Ground) with you.

Thanks --

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