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... a beautiful grassy field for tent campers ( empty ), spotlessly clean bathrooms with hot showers, very nice camp sites with some shade trees right by the grassy field, a nice restaurant ... and if that wasn’t enough ... a challenging, well maintained 18 hole golf course! All this under the darkest skies in the US.
The first time I saw a Tele Vue refractor was when I was responding to an ad in the Cleveland Plain Dealer in 1995 for a Brandon 94mm refractor. I drove to the seller’s home in Mentor-on-the-Lake, and admired the baby-blue Brandon on a Unitron alt-azimuth mount, set up on the back porch overlooking Lake Erie. But another telescope next to it really took my breath away. It was a brass Renaissance on a Tele Vue Panoramic mount. “Are you selling that one?” I asked. I liked the Brandon. But I really wanted the Renaissance. I ended up buying both.
In the world of commercial telescopes, if Byers mounts are the Mack trucks of telescope mounts, then Losmandy mounts are the Dodge Ram trucks. The two companies are only located about 120 miles apart, in North Hollywood and Barstow, but both seemed on the other side of the world from each other, in scale, size, market and old school and new school philosophy.
Before World War II, if you were well-to-do and wanted a telescope, you could buy one from Tinsley Laboratories, J.W. Fecker, the old Brashear Co. in Pittsburgh and the venerable Warner and Swasey. If you weren’t wealthy, you had to build it yourself. That’s the world Norman Edmund entered when he got his start selling surplus optics by mail order.
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