Criterion RV-6 Dynascope Advertisement
It was while I was in the USAF at Robing AFB, Georgia, that my interest in astronomy
was rekindled and I decided to move from a cheap 2" Tasco refractor to a "real"
telescope that had more light collecting capacity and was on an equatorial mount
with a sidereal drive system. My Air Force pay did not allow for anything as nice
as a Celestron or Meade model, but an advertisement in Astronomy magazine by Criterion
Manufacturing made the goal seem obtainable in the
Here is an account of my purchase and restoration project on a
Criterion RV−6 Dynascope,
6" Newtonian telescope.
For a mere $279.95*, I could purchase a 6", f-8 Newtonian telescope with a pillar-type
tripod mount and an equatorial drive. I immediately wrote a check and mailed it
off to the company's location in Connecticut. Then, I waited... and waited... and
waited, but no telescope arrived after more than three months. So, I to Criterion
Manufacturing about the delay and got a response that the Criterion RV−6 Dynascopes were on
backorder, but that it should arrive soon. Another couple months passed and still
no telescope. I sent another letter and had no response. I called the listed phone
number and got no answer. Finally, I contacted the Better Business Bureau in Connecticut
and discover they were out of business and in bankruptcy. Thanks to the BBB representative,
though, I was given a good contact number for one Criterion's executives and called
to explain that the company had cashed my check within a month of the time sent,
and that I was just a poor Air Force schmuck who couldn't afford to eat the $200
loss. He promised to send a refund. A couple more months passed without any refund.
I had given up when, almost a year later to the day I wrote the check, a refund
check arrived in the mail. I immediately took it to the bank for deposit before
it could be voided by the company.
So, the story ended better than it might have, but I still didn't have a nice
telescope and there was no equivalent alternative that I knew of at the time. Today,
of course, there are many such options available.
Here is an excellent article on the history of Criterion, "A Myopic View
of the History of Criterion Mfg. Co.," by Richard Hill.
* According to the
BLS Inflation Calculator, the $279.95 price in 1980 is equivalent to $810.76
in 2015 money.
The advertisement shown is from a few years earlier, hence the lower
Posted August 9, 2015