Leo, AAAP member Fred Garland (center) and club co-founder Chester Row (right) at the Springfield Telescope in Valley View Observatory, October 1938
Leo's interest in astronomy was enhanced by a trip (the first of many) to Springfield, Vermont in August of 1930, where other amateur observers and telescope builders were holding a convention. Springfield was considered the home of amateur telescope making at the time. Leo brought along his first home-made telescope, mingled with many of the leading telescope experts in the country (most notably Russell Porter, who was considered the father of amateur telescope making), and collected names of others who had corresponded with these experts.
Leo (left) meets with friend and mentor Russell Porter
Throughout his career as a telescope maker, Leo was well known for his generosity with advice and hands-on help to other telescope makers and users. He even sold some of his own telescopes to budding amateurs, including Bob Feller, a famous pitcher for the Cleveland Indians, who bought a Scanlon model while he was in the Navy.
Any mistakes or problems with a telescope-making effort were simply a source of humor
for Leo. In once instance, he and brother Larry were removing a sharp edge from another
member's 6" mirror when it fell from the table and broke into three large pieces. Instead of
‘fessing up' to the accident, Leo and Larry decided to grind and polish an identical, all-new
mirror in hopes that its owner would not notice the difference. Ordinarily, a complete
mirror grinding/polishing project would take days or weeks. Leo and his partner in crime
stayed up all night and successfully produced the replacement mirror; later the same day
they presented it to its unsuspecting owner. About a year later, the owner again
complimented Leo and Larry on their workmanship and added "How did you manage to
remove the two air bubbles from the glass?", which were present in the original blank.
|First Telescope||Valley View Observatory|