Brian Ventrudo writes about five classic telescopes in this article on the One-Minute Astronomer blog. Here’s my own experience with these instruments.
We had a 2.4 at the museum observatory and it was a beautiful and delightful telescope. I used it to observe, visually via projection, the 1984 annular solar eclipse when I saw the Sun’s corona.
These portable little 3.5-inch Maksutovs were the beautiful jewels of astronomy. My planetarium and astronomical mentor, Mike Hood, has collected Questars over the years.
The leading Schmidt-Cassegrain brand ruled over our observatory. We had a 10-inch model identical to the one in Ventrudo’s article. It was mounted on a permanent pier on the observatory floor. There was also the 14-in Celestron and two 8-inch models which I hauled around to do observing programs. I observed a large portion of the Messier catalog on those 8-inches.
The classic Criterion 6-in f/8 is a telescope I never owned or used but I’ve seen and looked through the RV-6. I think there might have been one added to the observatory collection after my time. This telescope and the corresponding Edmund Scientific 6-in f/8 Newtonian, were the telescopes I dreamed most about in my early, teen astronomer years.
Dobsonian telescopes, which came to light around the turn of the decade to 1980, changed amateur astronomy. Large apertures became affordable and usable. I built my own 10-inch f/4.5 but bought the optics from Coulter.