This scope’s description is a little complicated as the scope came in two distinctly different versions with the same name. They had done something like that before in that they had different versions of Twilight and Shockra over the years, these scopes had different style bodies but maintained some sort of underlying characteristic that tied them together. They also had series of scopes like the “For the Love of Color” series which were a very similar scopes differentiated by the colors of the scopes and cell contents. The scopes in the series were differentiated and known by their individual names, not the series name.
Spectro was different in that there were two very distinctly different looking scopes that were referred to by the same name – Spectro. Actually, there had apparently been a third version considered but it was never created. The three versions were initially referred to as Red, Rings and Bumps but never in any official descriptions and the Bumps version was apparently never made. I suspect what happened is that there had been a plan for a series but manufacturing problems with the Rings version resulted in a very limited number of them being made and none of the Bumps version being made. The advertising pages for “Spectro” written by the Knapps describe just the Red version. It is that version that is described in The Kaleidoscope Collectors Guide.
The scope I have in my collection is the Spectro – Rings version so I will now proceed to describe it. The Spectro -Rings was a very limited run but not technically a limited edition. The scope body was the typical painted PVC body of the 1990’s Shelley Knapp Kaleidoscopes. What made it different was that Randy would take a PVC pipe, heat it and then reach inside the tube with a tool to shape the body into a series of raised rings. Then they would paint and assemble the scope. The problem was that the process was very hit and miss. Too many times the manipulation of the PVC resulted in a tube that was too distorted to use for the kaleidoscope. As a result, Randy abandoned the effort with only a small number made and apparently none of the Bumps version made for I assume the same reason. When I bought mine, the shop owner related that it was a very limited availability.
This version of the scope was painted with a “Tri Optic” color automobile paint that appears to be blue or purple depending on the angle of the light hitting it (the Red version was a straight body painted with a multi layered red marbleized paint, the mirror system and cells were the same for both versions). The ends are Black anodized aluminum. The turning end had a fluid filled cell with a black background and dichroic windows. The cell contents were flame worked dichroic glass using a new technique to enhance the dichroic. It had a 2 mirror, 8 pointed mirror system. The scope is stamped on the side of the eyepiece end “Shelly Knapp Kaleidoscopes” and faintly signed “SK 99” on the clear side of the cell.
I am a particular fan of the Shelley Knapp Kaleidoscopes due to the character of the images. However, I will say that the images are not large, and they do require a good light source to really look their best.