Gregory Gross

Chapter 1. Lawrence Braymer and the Emergence of the Questar Telescope

In This Chapter

  1. § 1.1. Formative Years
  2. § 1.2. Evolution of a Design for the Questar Telescope
  3. § 1.3. Final Pieces Fall into Place

Lawrence Braymer was the primary force whose imagination and innovative spirit made the Questar telescope a reality. But who was he as a person? What aspects of his early biography lead him to risk leaving his professional work as a commercial illustrator and take up the development and production of a telescope?

Five critical aspects of Braymer’s early personal experience laid the foundation for his work after the end of World War II: the development of an entrepreneurial and innovative spirit, an interest in aesthetics and commercial art, his participation in the amateur telescope maker movement, his network of contacts with telescope equipment suppliers and professional astronomers, and his first encounter with the Maksutov-Cassegrain design.

With all these elements in place by 1946, Braymer was well primed to act. With his friend, the optician Norbert Schell, Braymer engaged in an eight-year effort that initially manifested itself in numerous patents the first of which he submitted for approval in 1947.

After he married Marguerite Braymer and incorporated his company in the spring of 1950, Braymer’s progress was slowed by at least two factors beyond his control. First, Dutch optical engineer Albert Bouwers had beaten Braymer in the patent race. Bouwers’s own intellectual property claim inhibited what Braymer could make and sell himself. Second, the Korean War and the restrictions on raw materials that it compelled also hindered Braymer’s movement toward beginning production.

But these were temporary setbacks. By 1954, Lawrence Braymer’s creation had reached enough maturity to emerge in the form that would unmistakably be recognized today as the Questar telescope.

Next: § 1.1. Formative Years

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