Celestron is a popular company that makes and imports a wide range of optical products. Some of the most common types of products associated with their brand include binoculars, telescopes, spotting scopes, and microscopes. They also have a variety of different accessories that go along with their products. The company was not always Celestron though. To understand where they are today and why their brand is so popular, first look into their history.
The company actually started out as Valor Electronics. The company made electronics as well as military components, and started in 1955. Founder of Valor, Tom Johnson, had an interest in telescopes, and he actually built a reflecting telescope for his children. Five years after he started Valor Electronics, he created a new division within the company called Astro Optical. Later, this division would become the company we know today as Celestron.
In 1964, Celestron Pacific, was offering a variety of Schmidt-Cassegrain telescopes that measured from 4" all the way up to 22". These proved to be popular, and in 1970, the company brought out their C8 telescope. This telescope had an 8" diameter, and it was the first of a new line of telescopes to come from the company. They used techniques to manufacture the telescopes that allowed them to create quality pieces in high volume while still keeping the costs low. Because of the low costs, they were quite popular with schools, as well as amateur astronomy enthusiasts.
Johnson did not keep hold of the company though, and he actually sold the company in 1980. During this time, the company continued to make a variety of different scopes, including motorized telescopes. One of the interesting little gaffes about some of those electronic telescopes is the fact that many of the models had programming using a technology that did not allow them to program dates after the year 2000, making them one of the devices that would succumb to the Y2K problem. Fortunately, some third party companies made chips that could remove this problem for those who had older scopes.
In 1997, the company Tasco bought Celestron. They were a part of Tasco for several years, but Tasco had a number of issues that caused the business to close in 2001. This almost spelled the end for Celestron. The brand was able to carry on though. However, times were not easy in the ensuing years. In fact, their chief rival, Meade, tried to take over Celestron in 2003. The only thing that saved Celestron was the fact that the bankruptcy court allowed the sale of the company to the original owners. The company was eventually resold from the original owners to a company called SW Technology Corporation.
SW Technology Corporation is a Delaware company, and an affiliate of Synta Technology Corporation from Taiwan. Synta seems to be a very good fit for the Celestron brand, as they primarily make astronomy equipment and components for astronomical gear. It also makes sense that Synta bought the company, as they had been supplying Celestron for well over a decade at that point.
While they may have had their troubles here and there over the years, the company has continually put out quality astronomical equipment and other optical equipment. In addition to their C8 telescopes, some of the other product lines for their telescopes include Onyx, Omni, CPC, CGE, and CGEM. They made everything from professional to casual and amateur telescopes. Over the years, they also created a range of other optical products.
Every company seems to have at least one real arch rival, and for Celestron that company is Meade. They have been rivals since they first came on the scene in 1972. Their pricing models, design style, and product lines are very similar, and they each try to outdo one another at every step. In fact, there have even been legal battles over patents because some of the items turned out to be so similar to one another.
Despite the issues they"ve had, the guidance and financial backing of Synta seem to be a good thing for Celestron. They have a strong brand, and they are still quite popular in the astronomical world. This popularity is likely to continue as long as they continue to put out great products.