Refracs, Scopes

Lola 095455

Meet (Lucky) Lola-095455 – a Shrine Manon 

A Love Story

I recently acquired a Shrine Manon 60 that consisted of the complete OTA and OP assemblies, but nothing from the MA or SA save a slow-mo cable with the alt worm, broken off from the mount, still attached. and the case. I found it to be a wonderfully fortunate auction win, because I wasn’t looking to add a whole ‘historical’ set – just the OTA and OP for study / reference / comparisons. Paint damage (to bare metal) near the dewshield, a crooked label, missing rim piece (I believe) from the objective end of the finder – I just had the feeling this was nothing ‘collectible’ – just a run-of-the-line decent example of 60’s quality telescope making.

I’ve since been informed by those in the know that this is may be from the early ’60s, a bit more rare than usual, and that I should seriously consider restoration – gathering the proper SA and MA to complete the set and repair it to as near original condition as I can manage. And I am keeping that in mind – but it is hard to date and then find matching date SAs and MAs – the records from JTII just aren’t available, so even with the “L-095455” serial number the best I could do is a ‘guessed’ piecemeal attempt. Historical sets require authenticity and accountability to be of reasonable value – historically or monetarily. The best way that I know of currently to achieve that acceptably, but not necessarily defintively, is to acquire a set as a whole from someone’s basement, storage, estate sale – these sources, if honest, are much less likely to be after-the-fact “best guess” attempts to create a complete set.

So what I have are the OTA and OP assemblies, a case and a slow-mo of unknown date that can be used in a best guess set. The tube has deep gouges in the paint. Matching color might not be so hard these days, but matching character, finish, sheen can be. Patch-n-Match is an option with questionable results and a complete repaint of at least the damaged section detracts from the authenticity – it’s a visual repair – removing authentic paint and replacing it with contemporary paint so it looks nice. Meh – better to keep the true paint with damage even without the backstory for the damage, IMO.

Now, the paint has been scraped to bare metal and that invites oxidation, corrosion and so on, so I am going to repair it. I could just clearcoat the scratches – bleh. I could repaint it white, and I would if it were to be part of a complete historical set, but it’s not, so – bleh. L-095455 has survived this long and has earned better.

When I first saw L-095455, burgundy or pomegranate lacquer popped into my head and I think I’ll follow that intuition and credit it perhaps, if queried, to the goddess Urania whom I have already credited with my fortunate find.  I am going to do so without guilt or shame – L-095455 wasn’t presented to me as candidate for ‘authentic restoration’ but as a homeless waif needing love, attention and appreciation – which she will now have in abundance.

She’ll also have a real identity – “Lucky Lola 095455” or “Lola 095455” and she will stand out as a princess among her boringly pale siblings. She will have her own rings and rail to keep her safe and secure and she will outlive me. She will gather the light of the universe for my grandchildren and their children and grandchildren. If Urania is kind and just (and she is) she will someday be one of the few, if not the only, surviving member(s) of the Shrine Manon 60s, gathering starlight as she travels with her future stewards among the stars. Certainly a possibility, and should be every stewards sincerest wish for their charges.

You may make the argument that L-095455 was intended to be white / grey and I should stick to that. I will respond “yes, she was. She was part of a large batch run and those were the colors chosen for brand, economic, availabilty or similar reasons. L-095455 – Lola – has now earned her individuality. She has survived where others have not. She has shed her yoke, outlived her mount and tripod and is out on her own. She will bring joy to people, to generations she was never intended to meet.  She’s going to be attractive enough, different enough that people wander over and ask about her.  They’ll look thru her and see something wonderful and that might get them interested enough to reach out to find their ‘Lola’ or ‘Burt’ and save them from age and decay and unuse. She’ll be proud of herself, how she has grown to be move than she was ever, originally, intended to be and I will be proud of her and maybe myself for having made a small difference.” – then I’ll shut up.

That’s not just noise – that’s how I feel, that’s what I see in her future. If I do not actually ‘love’ the scopes gathering about us, I can guarantee at the least that I appreciate them very much for what they are (marvelous creations by other humans I’ll never meet but will always have a kind thought for), what they do (show me things I would never have seen without them).  To some a scope is ‘just a tool’ or ‘just an investment’ and they are indeed those. But try to make a Lola, or make the tools to make a Lola, or the tools to make the tools to make a Lola – gets complex quickly – lenses, tubes, adapters, brackets, cells and so on and then refine all of those until you have Lola 095455 – that’s quite a bit of work, mentally and physically, to do what was done to create Lola. That deserves, from me, a good deal of reverance. So while Lola is a tool, she is not a disposable bit. Lola is an investment, but what matters or will matter at the end of my time with her is her educational value, her enabling value and I hope to some extent her sentimental value – that when Lola is in use, someone in our family is remembered kindly in the generations to come =).

I’m trying to say that I firmly believe I will do right by Lola 095455, even if she is never ‘authentically’ restored and placed in a complete, historical set. Lola has siblings already taking care of that and others that will if called upon – she’s free to be Lola. In one way of thinking, she is still part of her original set, though the tripod and mount met a violent end and are gone. Perhaps they are with her in memory and she has no urge to join a new set  (think ‘entanglement’ as it might pertain to tool or instrument animas). Her destiny, as is that (hopefully) of any tool or instrument I might acquire, is to be ‘more’ or part of ‘more’. She will never be less than she was.

Tom Duncan has allowed me to acquire a Towa #339 (orange-ish gold future?), Starbird an 80mm Selsi mount (emerald or sapphire future), Mashirts an RV6 (emerald or red future) – all are orphans.  The first two haven’t arrived yet, but they are all already appreciated and destined to be more.  They will never be parted out, they will be used kindly, they will never be less than they were when they left there / arrive here. They will all teach me a lot and I will treat them well and with respect.

It’s a cold, drear, rainy morning here and I must get moving – dog, chickens, scopes, projects all calling out for attention.  Lola’s gonna be fine – she fits right in

Clear Skies, Sharp Eyes, Kindness


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