The “Unitron History Research Project” has come a long way since we kicked it off as a result of our discussion on the Cloudy Nights Forum in September 2014. That is due in great part to the efforts of the dedicated classic telescope community, and your contributions, participation, and continued support for this project.
As you recall, my initial hope was that individuals with information on Unitron and Nihon Seiko, and owners of the larger aperture Polarex and Unitron’s would take advantage of this site to pass on that information. Its success was once again proven based on the photos and information that Alex Boot passed along on both the Polarex-Unitron Model 900 and about Nihon Seiko. Additional details on the discovery, recovery, and restoration of that telescope are being covered under a separate Features Page, Polarex-Unitron Model 900.
Overall, the classic telescope community has benefited from the information provided by Unitron and Polarex enthusiasts worldwide including: Australia, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Greece, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Norway, as well as from all over the United States. I expect this trend will continue as we expand our knowledge of these great telescope brands and as I complete the writing of the history in the three sections under the History Page: “The Glory Days”, “The Transition”, and “The Demise”.
During this period I’ve also had the pleasure of meeting some great individuals who are also enthusiastic collectors of these fine telescopes, and had the opportunity to visit and observe through 6 inch Unitron telescopes in five locations including Texas, Arizona, Connecticut, Vermont and Michigan. For me these experiences have been the thrills of a lifetime! The star party at Rafes Urban Astronomy Center held in March 2015 was especially gratifying…as was the opportunity to work with the members of the Green Mountain Association of Amateur Astronomers – dedicated individuals responsible for taking care of the 6 inch Unitron at Castleton University in Vermont.
“The Project: Purpose and Motivation”
As an original owner of two Unitron telescopes, I have been an admirer of these fine instruments since first reading about them in Sky and Telescope magazine back in the 1950’s. With that as part of my motivation, I decided to take on as a retirement project the research and documentation of the history of the Unitron Company. I recognize there are some very good articles that document the history already hosted on various sites. However, it is my belief there is good justification to consolidate this information in an effort to provide a more comprehensive and detailed history. It is also my belief there are good sources still available that can provide personal insight into the company, but time is running out to take advantage of these sources. This website is intended to serve as a means for those sources to provide that information not only on the history, but hopefully on some of the hidden large aperture Unitron and Polarex telescopes.
The two primary objectives I proposed for this project are to:
1. Develop a comprehensive and verifiable history of the Unitron USA Company from the early 1950s until the early 1990s, and include what history can be uncovered about its supplier, Nihon Seiko
2. Document the existing 5 inch and larger telescopes; there are no accurate records of production numbers
Dave Komar, Culpeper, VA
“Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.” Albert Einstein
Updated February 2018