Friday, June 3, 2011

#31) Librascope's Optics Business - Puerto Rico

The other day I received the following e-mail from a son who recalls his Father's association with Librascope's Chester Brandon during the 1950's. Some Libravets may remember those times. Others may be familiar with Bray Optical Company, who also made spotting scopes for hunters. Regardless, I think you will find the history interesting.

----- Original Message -----
From: Wade Bray
To: Carl Sorensen
Sent: Wednesday, June 01, 2011 7:17 AM
Subject: Bray Optical Company, Chester Brandon and Librascope Puerto Rico

Dear Mr. Sorensen,
For some unknown reason the name "Librascope" popped into memory this morning, so I just Googled it and found your excellent site.
I am the son of the late Max R. Bray (1912-2000) who founded and operated the Bray Optical Company at 3445 West First Street in Los Angeles (DUnkirk 7-8295) from 1937 until he sold it and became a consultant in 1958.
During my childhood years the name Librascope was frequently heard from my father. Librascope was a major and continuing customer of precision optics made by Bray Optical Co.
Whether or not through Librascope, my father became acquainted at least by the early 1950s with the optical designer Chester (Chet) Brandon, who in the late 1950s moved from Southern California to Puerto Rico and either ran or was associated with Librascope P.R. Dad and Chet became very good friends.
In 1958 when I was an 8th grader at the Webb School of California in Claremont, Chet Brandon had my father perform several months of consulting in Puerto Rico to set up an optical fabrication facility for Librascope P.R. near San Juan (Guaynabo, if memory serves). The project was partially supported by a Puerto Rican Government business program called "Fomento." My parents and I communicated via amateur radio phone patch: Chet Brandon (KP4AEQ) was an advanced amateur radio operator.
I seem to recall my Dad driving us one night past the Glendale Librascope facility just to see the beautiful new blue internally-illuminated sign with the large script letter L.
My father and Chester Brandon had several other collaborations, including Dad making objective lenses for some Brandon-designed refracting telescopes and the optics for the original (pre VernonScope) Brandon eyepieces. Dad purchased the Brandon "70-22" spotting scope design from Chet and manufactured them at the West First Street facility. The American Rifleman magazine rated the Brandon "70-22" by Bray Optical Co. (70 mm aperture, 22x magnification) the best spotting scope. I still have one, plus a few sheets of advertising literature.
Best regards, and I am happy to have recollected a few things related to the living Librascope memories. I would welcome hearing from anyone.
Wade Bray
Vice President
HEAD acoustics, Inc.
6964 Kensington Road
Brighton, MI 48116
telephone: 248 486-0099 ext. 207
Fax: 248 486-9470

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