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This has not been a good year for the founders of famous Optics companies. As you may recall, Norman Edmund, founder of Edmund Scientifics died back in January. Now we have been saddened to learn that Thomas J. Johnson, founder of Celestron Telescopes.

Celestron Telescopes was founded in 1960 by Johnson who was able to make Schmidt Cassegrain telescopes at an affordable price. The company grew on this strength, starting with just a 6″ model but soon expanding to Schmidt Cassegrains that were as big as 22″ across.  These Schmidt Cassagrains were generally lacking a corrector plate so Johnson and his engineers worked on a solution to properly manufacture the front collector plates. This led to the Celestron 8, which revolutionized amateur astronomy.

Johnson sold Celestron in 1980 and the company has gone through several iterations since then. It is still privately owned and operates out of Torrance, CA.


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