Before World War II, if you were well-to-do and wanted a telescope, you could buy one from Tinsley Laboratories, J.W. Fecker, the old Brashear Co. in Pittsburgh and the venerable Warner and Swasey. If you weren’t wealthy, you had to build it yourself. That’s the world Norman Edmund entered when he got his start selling surplus optics by mail order.
In 1997, Meade Instruments Corp. stood at the top of the telescope market. It went public that year, and was the darling of smaller issues. Its products were innovative, industry changing and in demand, such as the Autostar Computer Controller and the ETX 90 Astro. The Meade 90 ETX had been introduced the year before and, at $495, the waiting list to get one was incredibly long. John Diebel, the company founder and, at that time, chief executive and chairman, welcomed a visitor in his office at Meade headquarters in Irvine, Calif...
the summer of 1997 took me to Long Beach, California, to talk to Tom Cave, the founder of Cave Optical Co., at his home there, where he had lived for almost 60 years. I had a 10-inch Cave reflector in my garage in Cleveland Heights that was a pleasure to use and my personal favorite. So, when I called Mr. Cave, it was an honor to speak to him, and he greeted me warmly and invited me out for an interview...
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