"THE PLANET OF THE FUTURE CHILDREN"
history of a parabolic mirror that could never see its light.
Year 1997 ran when, after the experience I made in 1978 with my first mirror of Duran 50, I decided to make a larger one, 20 cm. in diameter.
I was about to translate me from Rome to Buenos Aires, and I must obtain a pair of mirror blanks, since in Argentine it would not have been easy to find them.
In Italy it was also not easy, since the few dealers that had that material sold
only finished mirrors, but not mirror blanks.
The only company in the zone able to supply them was the "materialzentrale" in Schaffhausen, Switzerland. But the time in order to purchase them via mail was not sufficient.
So I decided to go to Schaffhausen with my car. After all, the round-trip was only 2,400 Km large, a very little thing if compared to the astronomical distances to which we are accustomed…
Arrived to Schaffhausen... I could neither carry with me the glasses nor buy them !!
With absolute lack of confidence, although I was member of the "Schweizerische Astronomische Gesellschaft" (Swiss Amateur Association), of which the materialzentrale was a kind of godchild, and with some article published on the review ORION, official organ of said Society, the materialzentrale refused:
to accept my credit card VISA;
to accept the my Bancomat card of the BNL in Rome;
to accept checks of my account in Rome;
to accept checks of my account in New York.
An important Bank of Schaffhausen, asked to control to my expenses the balances of the aforesaid accounts, refused to do it, so that I couldn’t have to my disposal a single Frank !
Conclusion: I must return to Rome with my tail between my legs!
Arrived to Rome, the first I did was to make a credit transfer to the materialzentrale.
After a few hours, the sent money was already in Switzerland, in the branch of a trust bank of my Italian bank. But an entire week was necessary in order that the amount arrived to the Schaffhauser Bank !!
Meantime... ... I was already flown to Buenos Aires.
Cashed the money, the
swiss firm sent to Rome, to the address of the international mover that cured my transfer, a package containing,
among others, two mirror blanks of Duran 50 of 20 cm. diameter.
At the head office of the mover there was obviously a free port.
Although Italy, in this case, was only a transit-country, the customs of Linate (near Milan), taking abuse of its power, opened the package, causing problems and damages.
Because of that lack of confidence, the shipment for mail of that material caused to me a further outlay of 150 dollars. Further expenses were caused moreover from several telephone calls, that is:
from Rome to Schaffhausen;
from Buenos Aires to Rome;
from Buenos Aires to Schaffhausen;
(telephone calls was at that time a lot more expensive!)
Only on March 31 of the successive year the container with my goods and the package arrived to Buenos Aires:
BOTH GLASSES WERE BROKEN !
Thank you, to the Italian customs !
Thank you very much, to the swiss banks !!
And, above all, a million thanks, un millón de gracias, merci beaucoup,
besten Dank, Danke schön fil mol,
spassíva, efkaristó polí, gratias agimus… to the materialzentrale !!!