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Telescope Nerd » Brands » Meade Telescope Company: Quality, Production, History

Meade Telescope Company: Quality, Production, History

Meade is a telescope manufacturer that was established in 1972 in Irvine, California. The Meade company was founded by John Diebel. Today, Meade has grown into one of the largest telescope manufacturers around the globe. Throughout Meade’s operation, the CEO has changed multiple times. Steve Murdock is currently the CEO, continuing Meade’s legacy of innovation.

Meade Instruments focuses on manufacturing telescopes, which stand as their flagship products. Beyond telescopes, they also manufacture, import and distribute telescope accessories, spotting scopes, binoculars and microscopes. In all of their products, Meade delivers high-quality optics and continuous innovation, making them a go-to choice for both amateur and professional astronomers.

Meade’s high-quality optics have led to some of the best telescope models available on the market. The production process is meticulous, with manufacturing facilities located both domestically and internationally. Knowing Meade’s history and evolution over the decades allows users to appreciate the depth of expertise and craftsmanship that goes into each product. When compared to other brands, Meade stands out for its long-standing reputation of high-quality optics.

Are Meade Telescopes Good Quality?

Yes, Meade telescopes are recognized for their high-quality construction and performance. Meade Instruments has earned respect within the astronomy community for its precision-engineered optics.

One of the standout features of Meade telescopes is their eyepiece quality. The eyepieces are designed to provide sharp, clear images, using premium-grade optical glass and multi-layered coatings. The high-quality optics have established Meade’s designs as some of the best models on the market.

What are The Best Meade Telescope Models?

Meade Instruments offers a variety of telescopes catering to different observational needs. Each series is designed with unique goals, preferences and budgets in mind. The best Meade telescope series are listed below.

  • Meade LX200-ACF Series. This series is renowned for its advanced coma-free (ACF) optics, which ensure crisp, pinpoint star images across the entire field of view. It’s highly favored by astrophotographers and serious visual observers alike.
  • Meade LightBridge Dobsonians. For those who value portability along with aperture, the truss-tube design of these Dobsonians offers easy transportation and quick setup. The large mirror sizes, coupled with their ease of use, make them a favorite among deep-sky observers.
  • Meade ETX Series. These are designed for beginners and intermediate astronomers, offering GoTo functionality and solid optics in a compact, portable design. The series strikes a balance between functionality and affordability.

All three of these series are commonly used for their quality, but the manufacturing process and location will vary for each.

Where are Meade Telescopes Manufactured?

Meade Telescopes and their components are manufactured in Tijuana, Mexico. Meade also subcontracts Taiwanese companies to take advantage of low-cost and high-quality manufacturing. Research and development of new products still take place at the company’s headquarters in Irvine, California.

Where are Meade Business Offices Located?

Meade’s business offices are located at 89 Hangar Way, Watsonville, California, Orion Telescope & Binoculars headquarters. On June 1, 2021, Meade was acquired by Orion, causing Meade to merge its headquarters into Orion’s main office.

What is the Stock Symbol of Meade Instruments?

Meade Instruments was previously a publicly traded company under the ticker symbol “MEAD.” However, in 2013, Meade merged with Ningbo Sunny Electronic Co., Ltd, a privately-held company. After this merger, Meade Instruments ceased to be publicly traded, and its ticker symbol was subsequently delisted.

Meade Instruments continues to operate, though it was acquired again by Orion on June 1, 2021. Over their history, Meade has seen various shifts in its corporate structure and ownership but remains an active player in the telescope and optical instruments industry.

What is the History of Meade Telescopes?

Meade was founded by John Diebel in 1972 and began offering telescopes in July of the same year. At this time, Meade’s sales were based on mail-in orders processed by Diebel alone. The initial telescope lineup contained small refracting telescopes from Japan.

Meade was sold by John Diebel to a private investor in 1986 and was then reacquired by the Company’s senior management in 1991. After the reacquisition, Meade made an arrangement with a Taiwanese company to manufacture telescope parts at a competitive price.

In the 1990s, the production plant was located at 16542 Millikan Avenue in Irvine. Meade production was consequently moved to a newly built plant at 6001 Oak Canyon, also located in Irvine. In 1999, Meade began the assembly of a 26,000 sq ft factory in Tijuana Mexico. By February 2001, the building had reached 50,000 feet and employed approximately 110 workers.

On April 21, 2003, John Diebel announced his resignation, and on May 31, Steve Murdock became the CEO and President of Meade Instruments. Meade’s history of North American manufacturing and high-quality optics has given the company a competitive edge over other brands.

Which Telescope Brands are Similar to Meade?

Meade shares similarities with other renowned telescope brands, including Orion, Sky-Watcher and Celestron. These brands have all established a long-standing reputation for high-quality telescopes.

Orion, like Meade, is known for its high-quality optics and extensive educational resources. These resources are designed to help amateur astronomers navigate the world of astronomy with ease, making both companies a common choice for beginners.

Sky-Watcher and Meade have similarly made numerous meaningful contributions to astronomy. Both companies offer a broad range of unique telescopes, all crafted with high-quality optics.

One of the most prominent names alongside Meade is Celestron. Both companies have a rich history in the telescope industry, and they often challenge each other and inspire innovation in design and manufacturing.

Are Meade Telescopes Better Than Celestron?

No, Meade telescopes are not better than Celestron. Celestron has offered a wide spectrum of products since 1964, ranging from novice telescopes to highly advanced designs.

Both Meade and Celestron are esteemed brands in the telescope industry, each with its own merits. They consistently deliver high-quality products, but the suitability of a particular telescope often depends on personal goals, budgets, and preferences. 

Meade telescopes are favored for their user-friendly features and reliable optics, making it ideal for amateur astronomers. Celestron is widely appreciated for its versatile range suitable for both beginners and seasoned observers. It’s important to prioritize the specific features and performance of a telescope rather than solely focusing on the brand to optimize quality.