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Old 04-22-2009, 01:11 PM
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Default Ancient Launch Tower

Anybody have any idea who manufactured this launch tower? (I included the Semroc Mars Lander next to it in the photos to give a sense of size.)

It is similar to the metal towers seen in the first edition of Handbook of Model Rocketry and offered by Estes in the 1961 catalog.

But this tower is not metal, it is wood. It is exceptionally well crafted so I doubt it was home-made or a kit. The fit of the pieces is remarkable. Most of the tower is apparently glued together but on several levels there are small screws. Again, very professionally crafted.

The paint on the tower appears original and does not appear to be a home-built job. Lines are remarkably clean and crisp.

While the tower seems to be very well built, functionally it is unusual in that the rails down the middle are not adjustable and appear to have only been suitable for a four finned rocket of the proper size.

There is a holder in the base for a launch rod as well. It is slightly off-center to accomodate a launch lug on the side of a rocket but, again, only about a BT55 will fit between the rails.

Anyone with knowledge of who might have produced this tower, I'd appreciate what you know.


Steve
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Last edited by Gus : 04-22-2009 at 03:31 PM.
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Old 04-22-2009, 01:33 PM
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A couple more pictures.

The underside of the base has four rubber footpads which may suggest this was meant to stand on a table, like seen in several of the Handbook photos.

The photo of the internal joints of the tower give an idea of how well crafted this was. Very precise work and very precise painting. Either professionally produced or by a builder with exceptionally high-order skills.
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Old 04-22-2009, 02:33 PM
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Model Missiles Inc. had a tower that looked similar to it, but I've never seen any pictures with enough detail to know if that could be one.
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Old 04-22-2009, 03:30 PM
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Mark Mayfield emailed me a picture of Bill Stine at the opening of the display of the G. Harry Stine collection at the Seattle Mueseum of Flight (thanks, Mark).

The tower in the case is the metal type sold by MMI. My understanding is that with the demise of MMI, their remaining towers were sold to Estes who included them in the 1961 catalog.

Note how the tower in the case has a square bottom, but the tower pictured on the cover of Mechanix Illustrated has a triangular joint at the base, presumably to adjust the tower launch angle. I presume the one being advertised by Estes is more similar to the one on the MI cover since the ad mentions it is tiltable.

The wood tower I have is 6 levels instead of 7, like the MMI tower, and is not adjustable in any way.
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Old 04-22-2009, 06:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gus
Mark Mayfield emailed me a picture of Bill Stine at the opening of the display of the G. Harry Stine collection at the Seattle Mueseum of Flight (thanks, Mark).

The tower in the case is the metal type sold by MMI. My understanding is that with the demise of MMI, their remaining towers were sold to Estes who included them in the 1961 catalog.

Note how the tower in the case has a square bottom, but the tower pictured on the cover of Mechanix Illustrated has a triangular joint at the base, presumably to adjust the tower launch angle. I presume the one being advertised by Estes is more similar to the one on the MI cover since the ad mentions it is tiltable.

The wood tower I have is 6 levels instead of 7, like the MMI tower, and is not adjustable in any way.


I have one of the MMI towers. It's slightly adjustable. There were spacers that you could change so that it would work on two different body tube sizes. Mine can be tilted.
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Old 04-22-2009, 07:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by billspad
I have one of the MMI towers. It's slightly adjustable. There were spacers that you could change so that it would work on two different body tube sizes. Mine can be tilted.



pics please?

tia

terry dean
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Old 04-22-2009, 07:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shockwaveriderz
pics please?

tia

terry dean


Here you go.
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Old 04-22-2009, 09:43 PM
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Bill,

Thanks for the pics. Am I correct in that your's appears to be all red, without the alternating white sections?

In looking at some of the earlier photos it looks like some of the towers were all red. It also looks like some were taller than 7 sections.
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Old 04-22-2009, 09:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gus
Bill,

Thanks for the pics. Am I correct in that your's appears to be all red, without the alternating white sections?

In looking at some of the earlier photos it looks like some of the towers were all red. It also looks like some were taller than 7 sections.


It came unpainted. It's actually red and green. Even though it was over 40 years ago I still remember running out of red spray paint and using green, which was the only other can of paint I had, to finish the job.
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Old 04-22-2009, 10:09 PM
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Bill,

Did you buy it as a kit, or fully assembled?

And is the square baseboard that it sits on something that came with it or something you added?

It looks like the one Bill Stine is standing next to didn't have that type of base board.
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