A Dynascope RV-6 restoration story.
In the winter of 1998, I was commuting home from work on my bike. It was trash night in the well-to-do neighborhood and it usually makes the ride a bit more interesting. Usually it is just bad art or ugly bric-a-brac that makes up the bulk of what is out but when I spotted the long, dirty white tube along the sidewalk, I knew I had a winner. I went back later that evening (with the car), and pulled up to the curb and began loading it into the rear. It was pretty obvious that it was incomplete. There was only two legs and there was a gaping hole in the tube where the finder scope had been ripped off. My only hope was that the optics where in ok shape. I didn't even know what make it was until I got home and wiped the grime and snow off the little sticker. "Criterion RV-6" is what it said. Never heard of it.
My last flirt with astronomy and telescopes was when I was around ten or twelve in the late sixties. It was a time of great space exploration. I watched every lauch of the Mercury and Gemini program. I read all the books I could on astronomy from my local library. And I sent away for an Edmund Scientific catalog. I had asked for a telescope for Christmas and had received a Sears refracting model. I have no idea of the focal length or any of the other technical features and the best I could get out of it was the features ot the moon and a fuzzy glimpse of Saturn one cold winter night. But I never forgot that blurry bit of rings.
So even when I lost interest and began to use the telescope less and less and then finally began to break it apart to see how it worked, I still liked on occasion to go outside and look at the night sky and try and remember my constellations. So when I found the RV-6 in the trash, it was only natural that I would try and restore it.
I knew the basics of a reflecting telescope and the first thing I did was pull the big mirror. It was in one piece but most of the coating was missing. The secondary was also whole, but it's coating was just as bad. While most of the screws and bolts were pretty rusty, the focuser was free. The clock drive seemed to be in excellent shape when I pulled the cover; no rust at all on any of the interior surfaces. I had no idea how well it worked but when I plugged it in you could see movement within the housing. What appeared to be the biggest problems where the hole in the tube where the the viewfinder had been mounted and the missing pier leg.
It did not take a whole lot of searching on the web for me to soon realize that this was a very special telescope. The Criterion Dynascope page by Keith Wichman and the Dynascope newsgroup soon became my 'Chilton's Repair Manual' for my own scope. Through them and others I had more than enough information to begin rebuilding my scope. To all of them I owe a great big thanks. And I hope that this page will help others in refurbishing other RV-6's out there.
All copy, photograpy, and design copyright ©2001 by Robert Sapovits and Wonder Productions. All rights reserved. 23.05.05