My first telescope was a 60mm refractor I received from my parents on Christmas 1969. If they knew what was to come perhaps they would have just given me a football. The picture above shows the scope set up to photograph sunspot pictures with a home made eyepiece projection system and a 35mm Practika camera sold by Edmund Scientific. I still have the objective from the the scope, but the tripod and tube have been lost.
Pictures of sunspots taken with the setup above and used in my 1972 science fair project.
Within a few months of getting the refractor I began designing my next scope. I had a paper route at the time and over the next three years I would buy pieces whenever I could afford them for an 8" scope. After an aborted attempt to grind the mirror myself I bought an 8" f/8 mirror from Edmund Scientific. Most of the parts came from there. It took three years to get all the parts put together and first light was in February of 1972.
The scope had a phenolic tube and a mount I designed and had built for me as I was unable to do the machining myself. It was mounted on a 4" drill pipe in the back yard of our house in Moore Oklahoma. Years after we moved I would occasionally drive by and the drill pipe was still there (it was buried 3' deep). I wonder what people thought that pipe was for! It was a good scope but the mount never really worked properly.
In 1976 I sold the 8" I had built and bought the scope shown above. It had been built by Clark Simpson in Oklahoma City. When Clark died his widow sold it to a friend of mine and I bought it from him. You can see a 'wheelbarrow' arrangement where the pipe sticking out by my feet could be put into the end of the scope and the base tilted up on the wheels you see sticking out the right end and move it like a wheelbarrow. It was a fork mount built on a radar base from a B-52 as Clark had worked at Tinker AFB. It was totally motor driven and the 'wings' sticking out in the middle of the scope (below the finder scope) were syncro motors.
The telescope (with it's builder Clark Simpson) were featured on the cover of Sky and Telescope in January of 1965.