March 2006, Nikon Kenkyukai
March 2006, Nikon Kenkyukai

Nippon Kogaku's super rare vintage telescope

March 18, 2006
Nikon Kenkyukai Tokyo Meeting
Very Super Rare
Vintage Telescope
Historic Nikon Material

Nikon Kenkyukai Tokyo Meeting

Nippon Kogaku's vintage telescope

Tokyo meeting is very hot now. Neko-san, a member of Nikon Kenkyukai is famous for a collector of old Nippon Kogaku's optical instruments. He introduced a very interesting old vintage telescope to us.

Strongly built wooden box

Historical telescope appeared

Strong cast iron mount

Smoothly elevator drive

Quite expensive Nippon Kogaku's telescope

The 3 inch and 2 inch small telescopes first appeared in 1920 but they seldom sold because they were quite expensive for amateur astronomer. It seems that this early telescope was manufactured in 1925 by Nippon Kogaku. This telescope has a still high performance.

Ground prism and eyepiece turret

Nippon Kogaku 3 inch astronomical telescope, obliquely cut lens hood

Lens cap and Finder

Old Nikon eyepiece and telescope adaptor for Nikon S

Hoei Nojiri and Nippon Kogaku

Hoei Nojiri (1885-1977) is not only a famous writer in Japan who wrote a lot of books on astronomy but also a famous poet and astronomical folklore scholar. Hoei Nojiri named Pluto "Meio-sei" in Japanese (Meio-sei is the planet of the king of the underworld). It is very important to know the telescope which Hoei Nojiri had to research an old Nippon Kogaku telescope.

I asked Mr. Mitsuyoshi Kodama about the telescope of Hoei Nojiri. Kodama-san is a former director of GOTO INC. He is an expert of an old telescope of Japan.

Hoei Nojiri bought the telescope on July 21, 1928. It was a very expensive Nippon Kogaku 4 inch astronomical telescope. His telescope is the 1st production model, so serial number "101" was engraved on the metallic frame of the lens. He named this telescope "LONG TOM" and he loved it. Please look at the following old photo.

Hoei Nojiri and his telescope LONG TOM
Photo: Copyright (c) 2006, Hoei Nojiri, Japan, All Rights Reserved

The Nikon Kenkyukai obtained the permission of publishing the photo from the bereaved family in Hoei Nojiri by negotiating on Kodama-san. Therefore, it is prohibited to reprint or reuse this photo.

This is a historical fantastic photo. Over 60 years ago, young people and young girl gathered in Hoei Nojiri's house to observe the beautiful Galaxy. It was a night of old vintage Tokyo in summer 1940. A man who has a mandolin is a big-sky poet Yoshi Nagai.

Please visit here to learn more.
Look !! → Hoei Nojiri and LONG TOM and Big-sky poet Yoshi Nagai

Hoei Nojiri Exhibitions

A special exhibition of Hoei Nojiri was held at the Machida City Museum in Tokyo in the summer of 2006. His astronomical telescope, nicknamed LONG TOM, was exhibited.

Machida City Museum, Tokyo

Emperor Hirohito's Nippon Kogaku telescope

Mother of LONG TOM is Nippon Kogaku 4.5 inch astronomical telescope. The emperor Hirohito ordered Nippon Kogaku to manufacture the astronomical telescope. The emperor was also a scholar who loved physical science. Emperor's telescope was manufactured in 1926. Yes, it was a beautiful Nippon Kogaku 4.5 inch astronomical telescope. The following photos are articles in the Kagaku Gaho (Science Magazine) in September 1926.

Emperor Hirohito's Telescope, Nippon Kogaku, 1926

The LONG TOM seems to have been manufactured referring to the Zeiss 4 inch telescope. At that time, the teacher of Nippon Kogaku was Carl Zeiss in Germany. The following photo is an ad in the Kagaku Gaho (Science Magazine) in January 1928.

Carl Zeiss Telescope, 1928

Nippon Kogaku cool vintage telescope

Super paper collection

Well, let's return to the meeting now after the hot discussion of telescope. The Nikkor Club was established in 1952. The "NIKKOR" magazine 1st issue was published in 1953. The "NIKKOR CLUB NEWS" like the tabloid press was issued in 1957, and this was distributed four times a year to the club members. The "Nikkor Club" magazine became the same style now for 1958.

Margaret Bourke-White contributed the special article to the NIKKOR magazine 1st issue 1952. She went to the front with Nikon S. Jun Miki talked about the topic of famous Nikon story of "David Douglas Duncan and his strong expectation for Nikkor lenses" in NIKKOR CLUB NEWS 26th issue 1963. These all collections are Kenkyukai members.

The first NIKKOR magazine published in 1953

Special article by Margaret Bourke-White, NIKKOR No.1 1952

The NIKKOR CLUB NEWS, 1st and 2nd issue 1957

David Douglas Duncan and Jun Miki, NIKKOR CLUB NEWS 26th issue 1963

Studying historic Nikon material

Nikon S and Antarctic camera

Many members of the Kenkyukai bought the Syashin-Kogyo magazine (Mar. 2006). The article that we have interest is the special article called "The research of Nikon mythology". This article was written by Professor Dr. Manabu Nakai of Toyama University.

"All the cameras froze and stopped working in the Korean War in very cold winter. However, only Nikon worked normally." Prof. Dr. Nakai inspected this Nikon mythology in his article. Squalene, special oil that is included to the liver of the shark living in very deep sea, was used by Nikon S as the lubricant.

Nikon S was used even the first Antarctic expedition team of Japan in 1957. Akiyama showed us the old book about the Antarctic expedition team of Japan. Although many photos are published to these books, we were not able to find out the photo of Nikon cameras. We learned the explanation of the coverage concerning the Antarctic expedition team of Japan from Ryu Koakimoto-san.

The Syashin-Kogyo (The Photographic Industries magazine)

Special issued book for the Antarctic expedition team of Japan

Ryu Koakimoto-san is studying about the Antarctic expedition

The Nikon manual

Nikkor for Nicca

It was a very hot meeting. Beautiful camera and lenses of the member had been put on the table. What will surprise us at the next meeting?

Nicca and Nikkor lenses

Special Thanks
I obtained the help regarding the Nippon Kogaku telescope from the following specialist. Thank you very much.

Mr. Mitsuyoshi Kodama, GOTO INC.
Mr. Atsushi Yuasa, Japanese literature critic
Mr. Tamao Tsunoda, Web master of Old Astronomical World

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Copyright Michio Akiyama, Tokyo Japan 2006, 2022