§ 6.2. Challenges Come to a Head
Gregory Gross

§ 6.2. Challenges Come to a Head

On This Page

  1. Challenges from a Changing Hobby
  2. “We Overreached Ourselves”
  3. Transitions

Paging through a sample of Sky and Telescope issues from the 1990s, one quickly gains a sense of the dramatic change that had occurred in amateur astronomy over that time period as compared to prior decades. In addition to its typical coverage of both advancements in the professional science of astronomy as well as the techniques that amateurs used for observing and imaging, the magazine published numerous advertisements that revealed the state of the art for equipment that was available at the time.

The Dobsonian revolution was in full swing, and many producers like Coulter Optical Incorporated offered reflectors with significant aperture on simple yet sturdy mounts. Meanwhile, Celestron continued to advertise their Schmidt-Cassegrain telescopes aggressively. But the company no longer had the market to itself like it had years before. Meade Instruments Corporation had also risen to prominence and was running advertisements that were sometimes six contiguous pages in length. Perhaps most conspicuous was the emergence of the apochromatic refractor. Companies like Tele Vue, Takahashi, and even Vernonscope, Questar’s supplier of Brandon eyepieces, offered premium instruments with optics that limited optical aberrations to a minimum if not eliminating them altogether.

With advances in computer technology, other companies emerged to satisfy growing demand for astronomy software. Jim’s Mobile Industries, which later became known simply as JMI Inc., claimed it held a leading role in development computer technology for amateur astronomers. Others included Project Pluto, Zephyr’s Astronomy Software, and, most notably, Software Bisque and its groundbreaking TheSky software package. In addition to the desktop computer, one found increasing availability in telescope mounts that included electronic drive systems and, later, fully-computerized control paddles with databases containing information on thousands of astronomical objects.

Orion Telescope Center advertisement, <em>Sky and Telescope</em>, April 1994
Advertisement for Orion Telescope Center in the April 1994 issue of Sky and Telescope. Orion Telescope Center

The way that retailers sold their products also underwent profound change. During the earlier years of the 1990s, businesses like Orion Telescope Center, Focus Camera, Adorama, and Astronomics all depended on their presence in magazines like Sky and Telescope to draw prospective buyers to call or write for more information. Their advertisements often spanned several pages and contained dense listings for the wide array of products they sold.

But in the final years of the 1990s, the internet began to emerge as a critical point of contact between businesses and their customers. Orion prominently displayed their address at www.telescope.com and urged buyers not to miss the special deals that appeared online. Meanwhile, the magazine advertisements they ran contained fewer details about the products they sold.

As the hobby underwent head-spinning change, Questar Corporation, the longtime producer of fine instruments that had operated since 1950, continued to offer its line of Maksutov-Cassegrain telescopes. But with so many new competitors and with so many low-cost options for buyers to choose from, the task of selling the Questar telescope—one that had already become difficult—became harder still. And with other developments that occurred inside the company, the 1990s at Questar Corporation were far from placid.

Challenges from a Changing Hobby

During the 1970s and 1980s, companies like Celestron and Meade emerged as significant competitors who could not be ignored. In the 1990s, the challenge of operating in a market that offered more high-quality choices to amateur astronomers only intensified. In addition to lower-cost catadioptrics which flooded the market, the appearance of simple Dobsonian-mounted reflectors offered the amateur all the benefits of a large-aperture instrument at an even smaller fraction of the price compared to mass-produced Schmidt-Cassegrains. On the opposite end of the aperture scale, apochromatic refractors provided all the benefits of an unobstructed aperture with little if any of the chromatic aberration that characterized older achromatic designs. The preponderance of options that amateur astronomers enjoyed was increasingly formidable, and the challenge they posed to Questar was equally daunting.

The Dobsonian Revolution

John Dobson never tried to profit from astronomy. He did not even particularly like the fact that the movement that put inexpensive big-aperture telescopes into the hands of amateur astronomers bore his name.

John Dobson
John Dobson with a reflecting telescope whose mount bore his name. angelonskye.blogspot.com

Born in Beijing to Methodist missionaries in 1915, Dobson later attended the University of California at Berkeley and graduated with a degree in chemistry. He then joined a Hindu monastery in Sacramento, where he was charged by its leader with the task of reconciling Hindu scripture with modern physics. Dobson set about to scrounge together whatever he could find—scraps of wood, cardboard tubes, ship portholes, and the like—to build a telescope, one that used the design Isaac Newton had conceived of centuries earlier. But in a departure from the most common practice of the time—placing a Newtonian reflector on a heavy equatorial mount—Dobson built a simple two-axis mount that moved up and down and side to side. Before long, he was hooked. In 1967, the head of the monastery expelled him for spending too much time with his telescopes.[1]

Thereafter, John Dobson made a life for himself as an evangelist who shared his passion for astronomy with anyone who would listen to him and who was willing to look through his telescope. In San Francisco, he founded the Sidewalk Astronomers, who joined him in sharing the view of the heavens to countless passersby.[2]

Coulter Optical Company advertisement, <em>Sky and Telescope</em>, March 1984
Advertisement for Coulter Optical Company in the March 1984 issue of Sky and Telescope. Coulter Optical Company

Dobson succeeded in getting others—amateurs and commercial sellers alike—to adopt his exceedingly simple design for a large yet inexpensive telescope.[3] Amateur telescope makers undertook their own projects, and many of them were so large that an observer had to use a ladder to reach the eyepiece. Meanwhile, manufacturers who sought to make a profit rushed to market with their own models. Perhaps most notable among these sellers was Coulter Optical, who introduced a 13.1-inch Dobsonian-mounted reflector in May 1980. Other sizes later appeared, all for a fraction of the price of a Schmidt-Cassegrain of equivalent aperture.[4] Amateurs quickly adopted them, and before long the Dobsonian telescope became a fixture on the observing field.

Questar advertisement, <em>Sky and Telescope</em>, August 1991
In the summer of 1991, Questar encouraged readers to “take a new look” at its classic 3.5-inch Maksutov-Cassegrain telescope. Questar Corporation

Facing this challenge, Questar adapted one of the marketing arguments it had regularly made in prior years: a small-aperture yet precisely built telescope brought several benefits to the observer. Encouraging readers to “take a new look” at a telescope the company had sold for decades, Questar asked readers of the June 1991 issue of Sky and Telescope a series of questions. “At the last star party, did your light bucket let you down? Was the atmosphere your enemy? Was your bright image a bad image?” In Astronomy magazine, Questar simply pointed out, “If you think bigger is better, look again.” In both publications, Questar made its case: “Aperture is only one element in optical performance; smart design will regularly beat mere size. When you combine our perfected 3.5 inch optics with true portability, ease of use and mechanical elegance, then you have a fully effective telescope. You have a Questar.”[5]

But the same logic that compelled Lawrence Braymer to develop a seven-inch version of his Questar telescope also applied to the Dobsonian reflector: when it is figured precisely, aperture wins. Although the Questar continued to outperform large reflectors in certain observational applications, it was hard for many buyers to choose a small-aperture telescope costing thousands of dollars over one that gathered far more light at a fraction of the cost.

Apochromatic Refractors

Eroding another rationale that Questar had built for itself over the decades—optical performance that was free of false color—the rise of apochromatic refractors represented another challenge to the company.

Refracting telescopes have always faced the problem of chromatic aberration, or the phenomena where different colors or wavelengths of light are brought to focus at different distances from the objective lens. On one hand, achromats are typically corrected to bring two wavelengths of light, typically red and blue light, to focus at the same point. As a result, they offer limited control over false color. Apochromatic refractors, on the other hand, typically bring three wavelengths of light—red, blue, and green—to focus at the same plane by means of lenses made of fluorite or, in more recent years, extra-low-dispersion (ED) glass. Most apochromats still allow some chromatic aberration, but they usually do so well below the human eye’s ability to detect it.[6]

Tele Vue advertisement, <em>Sky and Telescope</em>, April 1994
Advertisement for Tele Vue refractors in the April 1994 issue of Sky and Telescope. Tele Vue

In the late 1980s and the 1990s, several producers of apochromatic refractors gained increasing prominence. Founded in 1932 by Kitaro Takahashi in Japan, Takahashi evolved into a highly reputable manufacturer of premium refractors with a wide range of apertures. In 1975, Roland Christen began Astro-Physics, another maker of high-end refracting telescopes that were produced in limited quantities. Two years later, Al Nagler founded Tele Vue, whose four-inch Renaissance and Genesis telescopes reestablished the refractor as a serious instrument for the amateur astronomer. Nagler’s company also gained a strong reputation for producing quality eyepieces often with unique designs. Although prices for telescopes built by Takahashi, Astro-Physics, Tele Vue, and others were high and remain so today, other commercial telescope manufacturers particularly in China and Taiwan saw opportunities to put instruments of similar quality in the hands of amateurs for amounts as little as $250 to $500 per inch of aperture.[7]

Questar advertisement, <em>Sky and Telescope</em>, May 1992
Questar addressed the challenge that apochromatic refractors posed in this advertisement appearing in the May 1992 issue of Sky and Telescope. Questar Corporation

On a number of fronts, Questar responded to the challenge that achromatic refractors posed. In an advertisement that appeared in the May 1992 issue of Sky and Telescope, for instance, the company argued that “the chromatic correction of the Questar Maksutov is many times better than the performance of the best refractive apochromat. It has a barrel that is a fraction of the length, and it is made with optical materials which are much more resilient to temperature changes and impact.”[8]

Questar also presented its case against apochromatic refractors in its 1992 brochure “Choosing a Telescope,” which was largely authored by longtime Questar advocate Rodger Gordon. In recent years, he wrote, manufacturers had developed refractors with lenses made of fluorite glasses. But the material suffered from several problems. First, it had a fragile crystalline structure and was prone to cracking. Second, since it was sensitive to extreme temperature changes, the typical high-heat method used for depositing magnesium fluoride or dielectric coatings could not be used on fluorite glass. Alternatives included lenses with “cold-coatings,” which were far less durable, or with no coatings at all, which was often the case with interior lens surfaces. And third, since fluorite was a hygroscopic material, it absorbed moisture and was prone to disfigurement over the long term.[9]

Gordon went on to address arguments that apochromatic refractor proponents typically made against catadioptrics, namely that their central obstructions reduced contrast. This argument, Gordon pointed out, rested on a faulty premise. Rather than the central obstruction being the cause of reductions in contrast, inadequate baffling inside the central tube and light dispersion caused by the corrector lens were both the real culprits. If one compared the view through a Questar with that of a quality apochromat, one would see that both delivered a deep black background sky. The Questar, however, offered the advantages of a compact tube.[10]

In spite of its efforts, however, Questar saw more of its share of the market being eroded by the rise of high-quality apochromatic refractors, which became especially popular among astrophotographers. As time progressed, their amazing performance at equally amazing low prices undercut the appeal that the Questar telescope had in the eyes of many amateur astronomers.

Meade ETX Maksutov-Cassegrains

While Dobsonian-mounted reflectors and apochromatic refractors certainly posed challenges to Questar, their fundamentally different designs left more than a little room for proponents of catadioptric telescopes to make their case. In the late 1990s, however, the emergence of one particularly low-cost Maksutov-Cassegrain represented a more direct competitive attack on Questar. Its producer had been building momentum for years.

After having earned his bachelor and master of science degrees in electrical engineering at Cal Tech and his doctorate in the same field from the University of Southern California, John Diebel started his first job at TRW in Redondo Beach. He was miserable. Soon, as he remembered in an interview with journalist Barry Kawa years later, he found a new position at Hughes Aircraft. But there, too, he was equally unhappy taking orders from someone else.[11]

One morning in November 1971, he went to the public library in Los Angeles in search of ideas for a business opportunity. He found a magazine advertisement offering imported Japanese refractors to resellers in the United States. As a teenager, Diebel had been an avid amateur astronomer and had even built a number of telescopes for himself. But upon beginning his studies in college, he set aside his hobby.[12]

Meade Instruments advertisement, <em>Sky and Telescope</em>, July 1972
Advertisement for Meade Instruments in the July 1972 issue of Sky and Telescope. Meade Instruments Corporation

Diebel suddenly realized that he could make a profit selling telescopes. But with the amount of school debt he carried, he could not find a bank willing to loan him money. Diebel eventually secured funding at a high interest rate for a venture he called Meade Telescopes, which he operated on the side while he continued his work at Hughes Aircraft. In the summer of 1972, he began running advertisements in Sky and Telescope. His work began to pay off. By the spring of 1973, when he was making about $300 a month from Meade, he decided to quit his job at Hughes Aircraft and work full time building his own business.[13]

After years of persistent hard work, John Diebel began producing his own reflecting telescopes in 1977. At first, his company used Coulter Optics as its optical supplier. But before long, Meade began producing its own optics. Sales for its six- and eight-inch reflectors took off with explosive success, and soon Diebel was struggling with a lengthy backlog of orders.[14]

Meade Instrument Corporation advertisement, <em>Sky and Telescope</em>, March 1984
Advertisement for Meade Instrument Corporation in the March 1984 issue of Sky and Telescope. Meade Instruments Corporation

Not content with limiting himself to his success selling reflectors, Diebel took an extreme risk with developing his own manufacturing method for figuring the optics for a new Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope. With a corrector plate that was different enough from Celestron’s to avoid legal entanglements, Meade introduced its eight-inch f/10 Model 2080 SCT to the market in September 1980. Many other models appeared including a four-inch Model 2040, which looked strikingly similar to the Questar telescope just as Criterion’s Dynamax 4 had.[15]

By 1986, when Meade was doing $13.6 million in business annually, John Diebel decided to sell his company to Harbour Group in St. Louis, Missouri. After maintaining a connection with the company he formerly owned, Diebel severed ties altogether a few years later. The change in management spelled extreme misfortune for Meade, whose product line had become stagnant by the time Diebel and three other Meade executives bought the company back in 1991. Throughout the rest of the 1990s, Meade refreshed its magazine advertising and expanded its product line to include its computerized LX-200 series. Meade’s business rebounded.[16]

Before he left Meade in the late 1980s, John Diebel began to wonder if there was an opportunity to fill a gap in the amateur astronomy market. At the time, he looked at Meade’s lineup of telescopes and saw mostly larger Schmidt-Cassegrains. His company simply did not sell many small instruments. Then he looked at his competition. For decades, Questar had sold a premium Maksutov-Cassegrain at a price that put it out of reach for most buyers. Could Meade produce something that was close to the optical quality of the Questar but that cut back in other less critical areas?[17]

Meade Instrument Corporation advertisement, <em>Astronomy</em>, June 1996
Advertisement for Meade’s ETX Maksutov-Cassegrain telescope in the June 1996 issue of Astronomy magazine. Meade Instruments Corporation

Diebel unsuccessfully pitched his idea to Meade’s new owners. But after he and his fellow investors took back control of the company in the early 1990s, he remembered his idea for an economical 90mm Maksutov-Cassegrain and pursued the idea in earnest. After two years and $700,000 of development, Meade introduced the ETX 90 to the market in 1996 for $495, well below the starting price of $3475 for a Standard Questar. Three years later, the ETX-EC appeared. The new model offered an electronic controller for both axes and an optional fully-computerized Autostar package for “go-to” capability. Eventually, other models emerged with apertures up to 125mm.[18]

When Alan Dyer of Sky and Telescope wrote his review of the ETX, he expressed his astonishment with the emergence of a kind of “black market” in which those few early ETX owners would resell their telescopes to impatient buyers on Meade’s waiting list. “I don’t know how many ETXs were scalped this way,” Dyer wrote, “but the marketeering demonstrated just how hot this 90-millimeter Maksutov-Cassegrain telescope is.” After he and his colleagues anonymously—and legitimately—purchased an unused test unit from a telescope retailer, Dyer evaluated what clearly represented a “well-crafted, not-too-expensive, portable instrument. It is just what many people are looking for.” In spite of its various flaws, Dyer concluded that the ETX’s optical quality, features, and pricing made it “an ideal first telescope for a novice or an ultraportable second or third telescope for a long-time amateur.”[19]

In the same issue, Sky and Telescope writer George East explicitly compared the ETX with the Questar. “While the ETX is first rate in design and manufacture,” he wrote, “the classic Questar remains exceptional.” While the telescope made in New Hope made extensive use of aluminum, had “silky smooth” slow-motion controls, was easier to bring to focus, and showed slightly more contrast than what Meade’s Maksutov-Cassegrain was able to muster, the ETX “doesn’t have a dew shield, comes in a cardboard box, and uses many plastic parts.” But then again, East admitted, Meade’s objective was not to match all aspects of Questar’s quality. “It’s hard to beat such a finely tuned package, and in this sense Meade has not tried to follow in Questar’s footsteps. However, Meade does offer a fine portable instrument at a dramatically lower price.”[20]

The individuals at Questar could do little else but shake their head in disgust. Speaking with Douglas Knight in 1985, New Hope Gazette journalist Charles Shaw quoted him as saying that “what saves us is the extreme difficulty of making a Questar product. There’s no cranking-out these instruments... no assembly line, no mass production. Mass production accepts compromise. We do not. Each instrument is as nearly perfect as we can make it.” Shaw asked Knight if Questar could leverage its patent protections. “We have some patents,” he replied. “But you can’t patent basic designs... you can’t patent optical curves. Questar’s emphasis is on quality, not quantity.”[21]

Years later, Douglas Knight reiterated many of the same complaints. When Barry Kawa spoke with him in the late 1990s after the ETX appeared on the market, he mentioned comparisons that both Sky and Telescope and Astronomy magazines had made between the ETX and Questar. Douglas Knight scoffed. After admitting he had never actually seen an ETX in person, Knight nonetheless brushed it aside. “I gather it’s very much a knockoff,” he said. As far as the question over whether Meade stole Questar’s intellectual property was concerned, Knight conceded that his company had few options. “If they steal the superficial part of our design, what can you do?” At bottom, he argued that price still told a potential buyer a lot. “Price still tells you something,” Knight said. “If it’s an honest price, if it’s expensive, [if] a lot of work [goes] into it, it will show.”[22]

But in spite of whatever challenges Meade’s ETX presented to Questar, it also proved that a small, well-designed Maksutov-Cassegrain telescope was still very much relevant in an era of countless telescope choices.

The Question of Computerized Control

Since its introduction in the mid-1950s, one of Questar’s distinguishing features was its motorized fork mount. Although a handful of competitors also included similar functionality, no other telescope offered as elegant of an integration as Questar’s design.

Celestron advertisement, <em>Sky and Telescope</em>, October 1984
Celestron promoted its C8 SCT “with a brain” in the October 1984 issue of Sky and Telescope. Celestron

But as the decades proceeded, other manufactures caught up with mounts whose drive systems had increasing levels of sophistication. By the mid-1980s, Celestron could claim that its famous C8 Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope included a mount “with a brain.” On the outside back cover of Sky and Telescope for October 1984, for instance, Celestron announced that buyers could purchase an optional hand-held computerized controller that, once properly set, could point the telescope at thousands of objects in the night sky.[23] As the 1980s transitioned into the 1990s, other manufacturers introduced a proliferation of automated packages. For many amateur astronomers, there was simply no going back to the old way of using a telescope.

At first, Questar simply argued against computerized control. In its August 1998 advertisement in Sky and Telescope, the company reproduced a letter from Ronald Ravneberg, who recounted a recent experience at Astrofest: “In this day of flashy telescopes with computer controls, stepping motors, digital setting circles and ‘quartz’ drives, many observers have been blinded to basics such as fine star images, balanced tubes, telescopes that don’t vibrate, 360° slow motions and true portability. When other Astrofest participants experienced these characteristics that we Questar owners take for granted, they were amazed.”[24]

Questar advertisement, <em>Sky and Telescope</em>, August 1989
The “user-friendly Questar.” Questar Corporation

A year later, Questar repeated its case in favor of simplicity. Under the headline “The User-friendly Questar,” the company wrote that, “in the past few years user-friendly has had quite a workout. In everything from computers to cameras we are being reassured: the gear that was hard to use is now easier; things are finally under control.” When he designed the Questar telescope, Lawrence Braymer had “for your pleasure, your comfort and your enjoyment” in mind. “To bring optics and mechanics together in harmony was his first goal; to bring instrument and user into harmony was his second.” From day one, the Questar telescope had always been “user-friendly.”[25]

But by the mid-1990s, Questar could see the inevitable, and it began to assess what it would take to develop a telescope with a computerized mount. Company Seven entered into talks with Questar about the practicably of manufacturing a 3.5-inch telescope with computer controls. But Questar never pursued the idea further.[26]

JMI advertisement, <em>Sky and Telescope</em>, March 1992
JMI advertised its electronic encoder for the Questar telescope in the March 1992 issue of Sky and Telescope. Jim’s Mobile Incorporated

While Questar balked at the idea of computerized control, third-party vendors filled the void. In the early 1990s, Jim’s Mobile, Inc., offered a computerized encoder that a Questar user could attach onto the side arm of the telescope. The company claimed that it was the only one to offer computerized navigation encoders for the 3.5-inch Questar.[27]

With a preponderance of buying options that amateur astronomers enjoyed by the 1990s, some came to believe that the Questar telescope was outrageously priced for the aperture that it offered. But even in spite of an increasing multitude of imported, low-cost, mass-produced, yet optically high-quality telescopes that are available in a variety of designs and aperture sizes, these lower-cost options failed to replicate the heritage and mystique of the Questar telescope. Was that legendary status powerful enough to allow it to remain on the market in the years ahead?

“We Overreached Ourselves”

While amateur astronomy underwent significant change throughout the 1990s, other developments inside Questar contributed to the company’s challenges.

Early in his tenure at the company, Douglas Knight oversaw Questar’s increasingly serious pursuit of new business opportunities in the special applications market, a pursuit that the company had already undertaken well before his arrival in 1976. Having used its expertise in building first-rate catadioptric systems to develop new instruments for long-distance microscopy, remote measurement, and surveillance, Questar pursued complex yet highly profitable ventures that would have positioned the company to be less dependent upon sales to increasingly fickle amateur astronomers.

But there were limits to Questar’s expertise. Eventually, the company became entangled in a contract for a special surveillance system that spawned numerous problems. For it to work, the project required the design and development of new hardware, optics, electronics, and software.[28]

Eventually, mounting engineering problems translated into financial problems. After the arrival of a new management team, Questar’s decision makers concluded that the best way forward was to reduce staff and restructure the company.[29]

On September 13, 1995, as Sky and Telescope later reported, Questar “moved to reorganize under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code. This action protected the firm from creditors while allowing it to remain in business. The petition cited an urgent need for cash collateral to maintain operations, noting that the Internal Revenue Service had obtained a judgment lien against Questar.”[30]

The day that managers broke the news to the company’s employees, about half of Questar’s staff—individuals whose work helped the company build and sell first-rate optical instruments and whose skills could not easily be replaced—lost their jobs. The cutbacks affected the entire company: salespersons, engineers, office staff, and machinists.[31]

In its July 1996 issue, Sky and Telescope relayed a letter from company vice presidents Timothy Smith and Abhay Khinvasara. Elaborating on the magazine’s earlier report, they wrote that “Questar’s Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceeding was precipitated by some unfortunate circumstances in its microscope and surveillance markets. The company is continuing its business and will emerge from Chapter 11 stronger and healthier. In the meantime, we continue to manufacture, deliver, and service a superb telescope, as we have for more than 45 years. While the company goes through restructuring, we have no intention of removing ourselves from the astronomical market and, in fact, will be offering a new 7-inch telescope by the end of the year in addition to our new birding scope.”[32]

“We overreached ourselves,” Knight flatly admitted during a later interview with journalist Barry Kawa. “Oddly enough, not with the optics, but with those electronics and software. Very advanced surveillance instruments. And we’ve gone back in and perfected it. We had to go through Chapter 11, and we went out of it. Nothing I would choose to do twice. But it was important that we persist, and we did persist and succeeded.”[33]

By the summer of 1997, Questar had emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy.[34] But along the way, the company had been shaken to its core.

Still, the simple fact remained that Questar Corporation—the company that Lawrence Braymer founded in 1950 and that had achieved legendary status in the decades that followed—continued to exist.

Transitions

As he thought back to the rough period that Questar endured as it worked its way out of bankruptcy, Douglas Knight remembered that he and Marguerite Braymer risked their life savings to get the company through its troubles. During his conversation with Barry Kawa, he recalled Mrs. Braymer asking him, “‘Do you want to risk so much?’ I would simply say, ‘Yes.’”[35]

But when Questar sought Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in September 1995, Marguerite Braymer was 84 years old. In increasingly poor health, she was likely quite distant from the day-to-day operations of the company by the mid-1990s.

Finally, on October 27, 1996, Marguerite Braymer suffered the last of numerous heart attacks and passed away at the age of 85.[36] Upon her death, Douglas Knight assumed ownership of Questar Corporation.[37]

Next: § 6.3. Marketing and Sales

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Notes

1 Douglas Martin, “John Dobson, an Inventive Itinerant Guide to Stargazing, Dies at 98,” New York Times, January 21, 2014, https://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/22/science/space/john-dobson-dies-at-98-taught-art-of-stargazing.html, accessed April 1, 2021.

2 Douglas Martin, “John Dobson, an Inventive Itinerant Guide to Stargazing, Dies at 98,” New York Times, January 21, 2014, https://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/22/science/space/john-dobson-dies-at-98-taught-art-of-stargazing.html, accessed April 1, 2021.

3 Douglas Martin, “John Dobson, an Inventive Itinerant Guide to Stargazing, Dies at 98,” New York Times, January 21, 2014, https://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/22/science/space/john-dobson-dies-at-98-taught-art-of-stargazing.html, accessed April 1, 2021.

4 “History,” The Odyssey 8 Site, n.d., https://sites.google.com/site/coulterodyssey/index, accessed April 1, 2021.

5 Questar Corporation, advertisement, Sky and Telescope, June 1991, inside front cover; Questar Corporation, advertisement, Astronomy, January 1992, 109.

6 “Apochromat,” Wikipedia, n.d., https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apochromat, accessed April 1, 2021; Terence Dickinson and Alan Dyer, The Backyard Astronomer’s Guide (Richmond Hill, Ontario: Firefly, 2008), 41.

7 Terence Dickinson and Alan Dyer, The Backyard Astronomer’s Guide (Richmond Hill, Ontario: Firefly, 2008), 33, 41; “Takahashi Seisakusho,” Wikipedia, n.d., https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Takahashi_Seisakusho, accessed April 1, 2021; “Astro-Physics,” Wikipedia, n.d., https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Astro-Physics, accessed April 1, 2021; “Televue,” Wikipedia, n.d., https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Televue, accessed April 1, 2021.

8 Questar Corporation, advertisement, Sky and Telescope, May 1992, inside front cover.

9 Questar Corporation, “Choosing a Telescope,” 1992.

10 Questar Corporation, “Choosing a Telescope,” 1992.

11 Barry Kawa, “An Interview with John Diebel, Founder of Meade Instruments,” Anacortes Telescope and Wild Bird, n.d., https://www.buytelescopes.com/t/JohnDiebelInterview#.YGdKcrCSlyw, accessed April 2, 2021.

12 Barry Kawa, “An Interview with John Diebel, Founder of Meade Instruments,” Anacortes Telescope and Wild Bird, n.d., https://www.buytelescopes.com/t/JohnDiebelInterview#.YGdKcrCSlyw, accessed April 2, 2021.

13 Barry Kawa, “An Interview with John Diebel, Founder of Meade Instruments,” Anacortes Telescope and Wild Bird, n.d., https://www.buytelescopes.com/t/JohnDiebelInterview#.YGdKcrCSlyw, accessed April 2, 2021.

14 Barry Kawa, “An Interview with John Diebel, Founder of Meade Instruments,” Anacortes Telescope and Wild Bird, n.d., https://www.buytelescopes.com/t/JohnDiebelInterview#.YGdKcrCSlyw, accessed April 2, 2021.

15 Barry Kawa, “An Interview with John Diebel, Founder of Meade Instruments,” Anacortes Telescope and Wild Bird, n.d., https://www.buytelescopes.com/t/JohnDiebelInterview#.YGdKcrCSlyw, accessed April 2, 2021.

16 Barry Kawa, “An Interview with John Diebel, Founder of Meade Instruments,” Anacortes Telescope and Wild Bird, n.d., https://www.buytelescopes.com/t/JohnDiebelInterview#.YGdKcrCSlyw, accessed April 2, 2021.

17 Barry Kawa, “An Interview with John Diebel, Founder of Meade Instruments,” Anacortes Telescope and Wild Bird, n.d., https://www.buytelescopes.com/t/JohnDiebelInterview#.YGdKcrCSlyw, accessed April 2, 2021.

18 Barry Kawa, “An Interview with John Diebel, Founder of Meade Instruments,” Anacortes Telescope and Wild Bird, n.d., https://www.buytelescopes.com/t/JohnDiebelInterview#.YGdKcrCSlyw, accessed April 2, 2021; Barry Kawa, unpublished essay on Douglas Knight and Maurice Sweiss (unpublished manuscript, n.d.), typescript, https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/Questar/files/Questar%20Manuals/, accessed October 14, 2019; “Meade ETX telescope,” Wikipedia, n.d., https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meade_ETX_telescope, accessed April 2, 2021; Questar Corporation, price list, February 1996.

19 Alan Dyer, “ETX 90-mm Maksutov-Cassegrain Astro Telescope from Meade,” Sky and Telescope, January 1997, 54-57.

20 George East, “ETX vs Questar,” Sky and Telescope, January 1997, 57.

21 Charles Shaw, “New Hope’s Questar: A Quiet Company,” New Hope Gazette, March 21, 1985, 3, https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/Questar/files/FAQ/, accessed October 15, 2019.

22 Barry Kawa, unpublished essay on Douglas Knight and Maurice Sweiss (unpublished manuscript, n.d.), typescript, https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/Questar/files/Questar%20Manuals/, accessed October 14, 2019.

23 Celestron, advertisement, Sky and Telescope, October 1984, outside back cover.

24 Questar Corporation, advertisement, Sky and Telescope, August 1988, inside front cover.

25 Questar Corporation, advertisement, Sky and Telescope, August 1989, inside front cover; Questar Corporation, advertisement, Scientific American, August 1989, 111.

26 “Questar Products Index & Overview Page,” Company Seven, n.d., http://www.company7.com/questar/index.html, accessed July 3, 2019.

27 Jim’s Mobile Incorporated, advertisement, Sky and Telescope, March 1992, 295.

28 Jim Perkins, email message to author, March 15, 2021.

29 Jim Perkins, email message to author, March 15, 2021.

30 “Telescope Makers’ Misfortunes,” Sky and Telescope, March 1996, 14.

31 Jim Perkins, email message to author, March 15, 2021.

32 Timothy R. Smith and Abhay Khinvasara, letter to the editor, Sky and Telescope, July 1996, 10-11.

33 Barry Kawa, unpublished essay on Douglas Knight and Maurice Sweiss (unpublished manuscript, n.d.), typescript, https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/Questar/files/Questar%20Manuals/, accessed October 14, 2019.

34 Barry Kawa, unpublished essay on Douglas Knight and Maurice Sweiss (unpublished manuscript, n.d.), typescript, https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/Questar/files/Questar%20Manuals/, accessed October 14, 2019.

35 Barry Kawa, unpublished essay on Douglas Knight and Maurice Sweiss (unpublished manuscript, n.d.), typescript, https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/Questar/files/Questar%20Manuals/, accessed October 14, 2019.

36 Herb Drill, “Marguerite Braymer, 85, Questar Corp. co-founder,” Philadelphia Inquirer, November 1, 1996, R4, https://www.newspapers.com/clip/21814542/the_philadelphia_inquirer/, accessed October 8, 2019.

37 Questar Corporation, “Douglas Maitland Knight,” n.d., http://www.questarcorporation.com/dknight.htm, accessed August 12, 2019.