Meade Instruments is acknowledged as one of the most innovative and dynamic companies in the telescope market. Known for its groundbreaking telescopic designs, Meade has introduced dozens of improvements over the years that have made amateur astronomy easier and more enjoyable than ever.
Meade Instruments has built its reputation and its products through ground-breaking, industry-leading innovation and precision optics, the hallmark of Meade superiority. You'll find that on every product we make. Meade Instruments is adding technology to all of our products to make them easier and more fun to use. At Meade, we believe in providing a remarkable experience, using technology to make astronomy accessible and enjoyable to everyone, regardless of your experience level.
IMPORTANT COMPANY MILESTONES
- Meade celebrates 50th Anniversary.
- Re-introduced and re-shored to North America the LX85 Equatorial Mount.
- Re-launched Infinity and Polaris branded beginner telescopes.
- Introduced a number of new accessories and binoculars.
- Launched redesign of www.meade.com.
- Secured new distribution partners in Canada, India, and the United Kingdom.
- Continued global supply chain disruptions wreak havoc on fulfilling consumer demand.
- Launched re-shoring of the factory's raw materials and parts supply chain back to North America, including the continuation of ACF mirror blanks manufactured in the USA exclusively for Meade.
- Launched rebuilding the factory staffing in order to support production expansion plans.
- Secured new distribution partners in Australia and Chile.
- Extended Meade Instruments product warranty for original purchasers to 2 years on end user Meade product purchases from an Authorized Reseller on or after June 1, 2021.
- Integrated Meade and Coronado brands and products into Orion's web site at: www.telescope.com/meade and www.telescope.com/coronado.
- Consolidated US operations in Watsonville, CA.
- Peter Moreo named President of Meade Acquisition Corp. (dba Meade Instruments).
- In June, Optronic Technologies, Inc., the parent company of Orion Telescopes & Binoculars completed the planned reorganization of Meade Instruments and acquired the assets of Meade through the newly formed legal entity, Meade Acquisition Corp. Optronic Technologies, Inc. is an American and employee-owned company located in Watsonville, CA (www.telescope.com).
- In January, former owner and co-defendant Ningbo Sunny Electronic Co., Ltd. unilaterally cancels all Meade open purchase orders for finished goods and parts, and refuses to ship product to Meade and Meade's partners, despite a court order from the US Federal Judge.
- Global supply chain disruptions wreak havoc on fulfilling consumer demand.
- SpaceX, Comet, Work-from-Home, "StayCations" and supply chain challenges contribute to an exciting summer of telescope demand.
- March 2020, Covid-19 negatively impacts office, warehouse, factory and supply chain operations.
- In December, the owner and co-defendant of Meade Instruments Corp., Ningbo Sunny Electronic Co., Ltd., placed Meade into US Bankruptcy Chapter 11 protection.
- In November, Meade Instruments Corp. along with co-defendant and owner of Meade, Ningbo Sunny Electronic Co., Ltd. appeared before a jury trial in US Federal Court. The jury reached a unanimous verdict that the defendants (Meade and Ningbo Sunny) should be held liable based upon the plaintiff's (Orion's) claims.
- In August, USA observers were treated to a Total Solar Eclipse that was visible from Oregon to South Carolina, passing through Idaho, Wyoming, Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina.
- In July, Meade introduces the Coronado SolarMax III line of solar telescopes.
- In November, Optronic Technologies, Inc. filed its First Amended Complaint in US Federal Court against Ningbo Sunny Electronic Co., Ltd. and Meade Instruments Corp. alleging multiple violations of anti-trust law.
- Begin offshoring the factory's formerly North America raw materials and parts supply chain.
- Victor Aniceto named President.
- After multiple bids including one from Orion Telescopes & Binoculars, Meade Instruments was acquired by Sunny Optics, Inc. a newly created US entity controlled by Ningbo Sunny Electronic Co., Ltd.
- Joe Lupica named President.
- Meade celebrated 40th Anniversary.
- As amateur astronomy grows, and technology advances, the interests begin to branch out into visual and imaging activities. In 2012, Meade Instruments introduced the LX850 and LX600 mount series to cater to the advanced astro-imagers.
- Along the way, Meade developed technologies that made astronomy easy and fun. The advancement of telescope technology made it possible to learn and view the celestial wonders of the night sky the first time out. The LightSwitch (LS) telescope series, introduced in 2009, was the first true one touch technology telescope.
- Effective February 3rd, Steve Murdock was appointed to the position of Chief Executive Officer of the Company to replace Mr. Muellner. Mr. Murdock served as Chief Executive Officer of the Company from June 2003 through May 2006 and had served as a director since May 2006.
- Under a Purchase Agreement dated January 27th, by and among Meade Instruments Europe Corp., a California corporation ("MIEC"), Bresser GmbH, a German corporation ("Bresser"), Meade Instruments Corp., a Delaware corporation (the "Company"), Helmut Ebbert, Meade Instruments Europe GmbH & Co. KG ("Meade Europe") and Meade Instruments Verwaltungs GmbH, MIEC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Company, sold all of its shares in Meade Europe to Bresser. Mr. Ebbert, a managing director of Meade Europe, is also the managing director of and an investor in Bresser. Meade Europe generally sold Bresser branded optical products in Europe and distributed Meade's optical products in Europe. This distribution relationship continued after the sale for at least one year.
- The Company relocates to a new warehouse and office space at 27 Hubble in Irvine, CA.
- On June 12th, Meade and one of its subsidiaries, Simmons Outdoor Corporation, entered into an agreement and sold its Simmons brand and associated trademarks, patents and inventory to Bushnell, Inc.
- On November 1st, the Company issued a press release announcing that it had taken further steps in connection with its restructuring.
- On October 30th, Meade issued a press release announcing that it had engaged an investment banker, Robert W. Baird & Co. to assist the Company in the evaluation of strategic alternatives for the Company.
- Meade introduces the 20" ACF on the MAX Robotic German Equatorial Mount, originally priced at $14,999 for the Mount and $29,999 for the 20" ACF.
- In 2004, Meade Instruments acquired the Coronado brand of solar telescopes. These highly specialized hydrogen alpha telescopes produces detailed images of solar prominences and flares, and continues to be unmatched in the marketplace.
- On April 21st, Meade announced that John C. Diebel would resign as the Company's chairman and chief executive officer effective May 31, 2003, and Steven G. Murdock would become chief executive officer and retain his position as president.
- Meade launches the first ultra-high transmission coatings (UHTC) for commercial catadioptric telescopes.
- On October 25th, Meade acquired 100% of the outstanding common stock of Simmons Outdoor Corp. Simmons, a designer and distributor of riflescopes, binoculars and other consumer sports optics, offers products under the Simmons®, Weaver® and Redfield® brand names.
- On November 21st, Celestron filed an action alleging that Meade products infringe United States Patent No. 6,467,738 entitled "Tripod Structure for Telescopes." The complaint sought injunctive relief, compensatory and treble damages in an unspecified amount, and attorneys' fees and costs. Meade filed an answer denying all claims in Celestron's complaint. Celestron also filed a motion for a preliminary injunction based on its patent. Meade opposed Celestron's motion. On December 16, 2002, the District Court denied Celestron's motion. Due to the uncertainties of litigation, the Company is unable to provide an evaluation of the likelihood of either a favorable or unfavorable outcome in this case.
- On June 7th, Meade filed suit against Celestron, Tasco and other related or affiliated parties, charging the defendants with correction of patent inventorship, false and misleading representations in violation of the Lanham Act, unfair competition and fraudulent business practices. The complaint, ("the '942 lawsuit") filed in the United States District Court, Central District of California, Southern Division (Case No. SA-CV 02-558 (GLT)), alleges that the defendants misappropriated the Company's Telescope Alignment Technology and subsequently conspired to obtain United States Patent No. 6,369,942, entitled "Auto-alignment tracking telescope mount" ("the '942 Patent"), by fraudulently representing themselves as the inventors and owners of the Telescope Alignment Technology. In addition to other remedies, the suit seeks to establish that the Company invented the Telescope Alignment Technology and that equitable and legal title to the '942 Patent should be vested in the Company.
- On June 4th, Meade filed suit against Celestron, Tasco and other related or affiliated parties charging the defendants with patent infringement. The complaint, ("the '799 lawsuit") filed in the United States District Court, Central District of California, Southern Division (Case No. SA CV 02-544 (GLT)), alleges that the defendants willfully infringed Meade's Patent No. 6,392,799, entitled "Fully Automated Telescope System with Distributed Intelligence." The patent covers the Company's "level the telescope and point it North" alignment technology (the "Telescope Alignment Technology"), which allows a telescope user to easily align a computer operated telescope. In addition to seeking compensation for damages incurred, including enhanced damages, the suit sought to enjoin Tasco, Celestron and the other defendants from continuing to manufacture or sell products that infringe Meade's telescope alignment patent. On December 16, 2002, the District Court denied Meade's motion.
- On October 17th, Meade filed suit against Tasco Sales, Inc. and Celestron International, Inc., collectively (the "Defendants") charging the two companies with patent infringement and unfair competition. The complaint, filed in the United States District Court, Central District of California, Southern Division (Case No. SA C 01-976 (GLT) (MLGx)), alleges that Tasco and Celestron willfully infringed Meade's Patent No. 6,304,376, entitled "Fully Automated Telescope System with Distributed Intelligence." In addition to seeking compensation for damages incurred, including enhanced damages, the suit seeks to enjoin Tasco and Celestron from continuing to manufacture or sell products that infringe Meade's patent.
- On or around November 7th, Defendants filed an answer, subsequently amended, to the complaint in which it denied the Company's allegations and set forth various affirmative defenses. On or around November 19, 2001, Defendants filed a counterclaim, also subsequently amended, against the Company for declaratory judgment of non-infringement of the Company's patent, for declaratory judgment that the Company's patent is unenforceable and invalid, and for claims that the Company is infringing a Celestron design patent, U.S. Patent No. D438,221, and Celestron's trade dress. The counterclaim further alleges that the Company has willfully infringed Celestron's design patent and seeks an unspecified amount of damages, enhanced damages, and an injunction and other unspecified relief against Meade.
- Meade introduced the Digital Electronic Series, the first intermediate-level telescopes with automatic slewing and GOTO capability.
- Meade launched the first iteration of its online presence at www.meade.com.
- On September 1st, Meade and Meade Instruments Europe Corp., acquired all issued and outstanding equity interest of Bresser Optik GmbH & Co. KG as well as all issued and outstanding shares of Bresser Optik Geschaftsfuhrung und Verwaltungs GmbH. This acquisition provided Meade, without limitation, an opportunity to develop and distribute consumer optics products, including that included telescopes, binoculars, microscopes and other optical equipment.
- On August 16th, Meade entered into a Lease Agreement with Refugio Geffroy De Flourie, and established operations under Meade Instruments Mexico, S. De R. L. De C.V. ("Meade Mexico"). During fiscal year 2000, Meade Mexico, under a preferential tariff program, began an assembly operation in a 26,000 sq. ft. building located in Tijuana, Mexico. In December 1999, the Mexican Facility was expanded to approximately 50,000 sq. ft. At February 28, 2001, this facility employed approximately 110 Workers engaged in the assembly of several products including less-expensive and mid-range telescopes, electronic sub-assemblies, and accessory products.
- Meade celebrates 25th Anniversary.
- In April, Meade launches its initial public stock offering.
- On February 4th, Meade filed its first Registration Statement with the Securities and Exchange Commission and announced the Company as the leading designer, manufacturer and distributor of telescopes and accessories for the beginning to serious amateur astronomer. Recognized for its expertise in telescope innovation and the superior quality of its products, Meade has successfully introduced a wide range of new products, resulting in what the Company believes to be the broadest and most complete line of telescopes available. The Company offers more than 40 different telescope models with several different optical configurations, as well as more than 250 accessory products. The Company's telescopes range in aperture from 2 to 16 inches and in retail price from less than $100 to $15,000.
- Since its founding in 1972, Meade strived to develop a reputation for providing the amateur astronomer with technically sophisticated products at competitive prices. Meade manufactured a complete line of its advanced astronomical telescopes in Irvine, California, including the production of the optical systems, which are critical components of telescopes. Combining its manufacturing expertise with its dedication to innovation, quality and value, Meade developed and produced some of the industry's most technologically advanced consumer telescopes at affordable prices. Although professional and institutional applications of Meade's telescopes were not Meade's primary market, the Company's 8-inch and 10-inch Schmidt-Cassegrain telescopes were used by many universities, scientific laboratories and aerospace companies, including the University of California, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Lawrence Livermore Laboratory, National Radio Astronomy Observatory and NASA/Aames Research. The Company has capitalized on its brand name recognition among serious amateur astronomers to market successfully its less-expensive telescopes to beginning and intermediate amateur astronomers. Meade became a major supplier of telescopes to such retailers as The Nature Company, Service Merchandise, Natural Wonders, Wal-Mart, J.C. Penney and Discovery Channel Stores. To complement its extensive line of telescopes and leverage its distribution system, the Company introduced a complete line of binoculars to be sold under the Meade brand name.
- Meade was sold by its founder and Chief Executive Officer to a private investor in 1986 and was then reacquired by the Company's senior management in 1991. After reacquisition, management reemphasized the importance of research and development for new products and product enhancements. One of Meade's products, was the ETX Astro Telescope, featured in a product review in the January 1997 issue of Sky and Telescope and was referred to as the "hottest scope ever." Meade also significantly broadened the Company's less-expensive telescope line and has an exclusive arrangement with a Taiwanese company to manufacture less-expensive telescopes in accordance with the Company's proprietary designs. Meade also increased the marketing of its products by aggressively advertising in periodicals directed to amateur astronomers and by providing greater support to the Company's dealers, specialty retailers, foreign distributors, mass merchandisers, and end users of Meade's products.
- The Company introduced the Epoch 2000, priced at $150 – 200, which was a celestial and image processing software for use with Meade's computerized telescopes and certain other telescopes.
- The Company launched the 8" Model LX10, priced at $1,000, which included an 8" Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope, DC-powered replacement of the Company's original model 2080 telescope.
- The Company introduced the Magellan I and II, priced at $300 – 500, which were computer-assisted telescope pointing systems.
- The Company launched the ETX Astro Telescope, priced at $500, which was a 90mm Maksutov-Cassegrain telescope. This telescope was recognized for its optical quality and portability at an affordable price.
- The Company introduced a full line of general consumer binoculars, priced at $50 – 450.
- The Company launched the Model LX50 Series, priced at $1,200 - 2,000, which included 7" Maksutov-Cassegrain telescope and 8" and 10" Schmidt-Cassegrain telescopes, DC-powered variable speed (to guide and center) telescopes.
- The Company introduced the Saturn, Polaris, Infinity and Telestar Models, priced at $100 – 300, which included 60mm refracting telescope and 114mm reflecting telescopes customized for distribution through specialty retailers and mass merchandisers.
- The Company launched the 7" Model LX200, priced at $3,000, which included a 7" Maksutov-Cassegrain computerized telescope.
- The Company introduced the 16" LX200 Model, priced at $15,000, which included the first fully computerized observatory-class 16" Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope.
- The Company launched CCD Autoguider / Imagers, priced at $400 - 6,000, which were digital imaging equipment that helped the user to image celestial objects in a fraction of the time required with then traditional astrophotography equipment.
- The Company introduced the Starfinder Dobsonian Series, priced at $300 - 1,200, which included 6", 8", 10", 12.5" and 16" Newtonian reflecting telescopes on Dobsonian mounts. The Company's first large Newtonian telescopes on a simple altazimuth mount.
- The Company launched the 12" LX200 Model, priced at $4,000, which included the 12" Schmidt-Cassegrain computerized telescope.
- In the decades after its founding, Meade introduced countless innovations and firsts in the world of amateur astronomy. Of the most notable introductions, the LX200 line was first introduced in 1992.
- The LX200 Models initially priced at $2,000 - 3,000, included the 8" and 10" Schmidt-Cassegrain computerized telescopes with built-in 747 celestial object library (updated to 64,350 objects) and automatic go-to capabilities. The Company's first computerized telescopes with go-to capabilities and an object database.
- The Company launched Models 390, 395 and 4500, priced at $400 – 600, including the Company's first 90mm refracting telescope and 114mm deluxe reflecting telescopes purchased from the Taiwanese factory. In addition, 6", 8", 10" and 16" Newtonian reflecting telescopes on equatorial mounts.
- The Company introduced the Starfinder Equatorial Series, priced at $500 – 800, which included a redesign of the Company's Newtonian telescopes. They were upgraded to include a DC-powered cordless drive system to track objects in their paths across the sky.
- The Company launched the Model ED Refractor Series, priced at $2,500 - 5,000, which included ED (Extra-low Dispersion) apochromatic refractor telescopes with automatic slewing and go-to capabilities. This line included 4", 5", 6" and 7" telescopes.
- The Company was reacquired by the founding stockholder and senior management.
- The Company introduced Models 226, 289 and 4450, priced at $150 – 300, which were the Company's first 60mm refracting telescope and 114mm reflecting telescope purchased from the Taiwanese factory.
- The Model LX6 Series, priced at $1,600 launched, which was the Company's first 8" and 10" Schmidt-Cassegrain telescopes featuring microprocessor control, digital read-out of telescope position and Smart-Drive permanent periodic error control.
- The Company was sold by the founding stockholder.
- The Company introduced the Model LX3 Series, priced at $1,400 with 8" and 10" Schmidt-Cassegrain telescopes and integrated electronic drive systems to automatically track objects in the sky. The Company's first DC-powered electronically driven Schmidt-Cassegrains.
- The Company launched the Model 90 Series, priced at $300 with 90mm Maksutov-Cassegrain spotting scope. The Company's first domestically produced small, portable, high quality spotting scopes.
- The Company introduced the Model 2120, priced at $1,700, the Company's first 10" Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope.
- As the business grew, Meade Instruments started to enter the world of telescope manufacturing as they introduced the first commercially available 8" Schmidt Cassegrain telescope with a worm drive (for more accurate tracking), the Meade Model 2080, in September of 1980. From this point, Meade innovation took off.
- The Company introduced Models 2040 and 2080, priced at $500 - 900, with 4" and 8" fork mounted Schmidt-Cassegrain telescopes and AC-powered worm-gear drive. The Company's first production Schmidt-Cassegrain telescopes.
- The Company launched the Research Series Models 880, priced at $1,000 - 1,700, with 8", 10" and 12.5" Newtonian reflecting 1060 and 1266 telescopes. These were the largest, most sophisticated telescope mounts produced by the Company up to 1979.
- The Company introduced the Model 628 and Model 826, priced at $400 - 500, with a 6" and 8" Newtonian reflecting telescopes on equatorial mounts. The first telescopes manufactured by Meade.
- Meade Instruments was founded in 1972 by John C. Diebel. It was started as a one man mail order business, supplying small refracting telescopes. The first Meade advertisement appeared in the July 1972 issue of Sky and Telescope. The business eventually grew to offer a variety of accessories such as eyepieces, adapters, focusers and filters. John was a visionary who was determined to provide the amateur astronomers with quality products at a reasonable price and great consumer experience.
- Some of the Company's first Models included the 200 and 300 Series, priced at $60 - 250, with 2" to 3" small refracting telescopes imported from Japan. Complete with tripod and eyepieces on equatorial and altazimuth mounts.