As an original owner of two Unitron telescopes, one for almost 60 years, I have been both an admirer and user 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 in August 2014 to take on the research and documentation of the history of the Unitron Company. I was also motivated by what appeared to be some of the “mystery” associated with Unitron USA and its association with Nihon Seiko, its Japanese supplier. This was do in part to the early passing of Lawrence Fine and his wife, the absence of detailed company records, and the lack of available individuals who worked at Unitron USA.
I recognized that 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, which was put on-line in September 2014, 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 Company from the early 1950s until the early 1990s that captures some of the “personality” of the company. I plan to take advantage of what has already been written in the form of articles and interviews by getting permission to post or use links where copyrights are a problem; this history will begin with the supplier company, Nihon Seiko, and continue until the mid-1990’s;
2. Document the existing 5 inch and 6 inch scopes; there are no accurate records of production numbers; the global classic telescope community will be key to achieving this objective. In the process of “discovering” the remaining 5 inch and 6 inch scopes (Unitron and Polarex), I have realized that an important aspect of this objective should be the preservation of the remaining treasures. I hope to do this by (a) making their current owners aware of their rarity and importance to the classic telescope community and (b) when appropriate getting these treasures in the hands of new owners who can and will provide for their long term care.