Inside a CAT
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Tom Johnson was a man with a mission, but that mission had nothing to do with telescopes, at least not at first. Johnson had formed a small company in the early 1960s in southern California, Valor Electronics, to produce power supplies and other items for the burgeoning hi-tech industries of the area, and he was focused on making his firm a success. There things would have stayed if he had not bought a small Newtonian reflector for himself and his children. That was the spark. Johnson became one of those rare people who discover their true calling, and he was soon a full-fledged amateur telescope maker. By 1963, he had finished building an innovative 18.75-inch Cassegrain telescope, a huge amateur instrument for the time, and was showing it off at area clubs and star parties. Tom Johnson and his absurdly big, portable, and advanced telescope were featured in a Sky & Telescope magazine cover story that year.
Johnson soon set his sights higher than just occasionally contributing to...