|Headquarters||Miami, FL, USA|
Tasco (also known as Tasco Worldwide) is one of the major international distributors of telescopes. The company's products mainly target telescope buyers that are amateur astronomers, but has grown to manufacture a large assortment of optical equipment, including terrestrial spotting scopes, microscopes, binoculars, telescopic sights, and other rifle accessories. Tasco products are sold through a variety of specialty outlets, catalogues, and online vendors.
Tasco, based in Miramar, Florida, is a subsidiary of Tasco Holdings, Inc. (THII) and was founded in 1954 by George Rosenfield as the Tanross Supply Company, a distributor of fishing tackle and hardware. The name was later shortened to Tasco as inventory expanded to include binoculars and eyepieces.
Tasco manufactures both a variety of optical equipment including terrestrial telescopes, microscopes, binoculars, telescopic sights, and accessories for each.
Three categories of telescopes are available from Tasco - Novice, Luminova, and Spacestation – with several models in each family. The Novice family features the most economical telescopes using manual focus and view finding, while the high end Spacestation utilizes fully automated sky-mapping, "GoTo" technology. Magnification ranges of the telescopes are advertised as between 25 and 675 times. Both reflecting telescopes and refracting telescopes are available in each category.
Tasco makes binoculars with magnifications range between 7 and 10 times on a variety of models. They also offer Snapshot series binoculars, which include an ability to record video and capture still pictures as seen through the binoculars. The images can then be transferred to a computer through a USB connector and complimenting Tasco software for viewing and printing
Tasco offers several models of spotting scopes. These scopes are designed for rugged outdoor use and feature rubber armour protection as well as optional camouflage. Models have magnifications between 12 and 45 times, and feature panoramic view finding.
Tasco was originally founded and owned by George Rosenfield in 1954. In March 1996 Rosenfield sold the business. At that time, Tasco employed 160 people in its Florida headquarters, and maintained a location in the state of Washington, which employed 40. In June 1998, Tasco Holdings, Inc. purchased Celestron, another telescope manufacturer which focused on performance optical equipment and the more serious observer. Celestron was second only to Meade Instruments Corporation among marketing and sales of telescopes.
On May 29, 2002, Tasco Worldwide initiated liquidation of all its assets. after defaulting on nearly $30 million in loans. The company had been searching for a buyer for several months, but after much interest by Meade Corporation, the Federal Trade Commission, on this day, sanctioned a temporary restraining order in federal district court to preempt any attempt by Meade Instruments Corporation, the leading manufacturer of performance telescopes in the United States, to purchase all, or certain assets, of Tasco Holdings, Inc. including Celestron, a child-company and number two performance telescope provider in the U.S. The FTC argued that an acquisition by Meade of Celestron would negatively impact the performance telescope market by eliminating significant competition between the two companies and by creating a monopoly in the market for Schmidt-Cassegrain telescopes, which were currently only being sold in the U.S. by Celestron and Meade.
In response to the FTC’s denial, Meade filed several lawsuits against both Tasco and Celestron concerning a patent for a “Fully Automated Telescope System With Distributed Intelligence,” also known as “GoTo” technology, charging the two companies with patent infringement and unfair competition. The complaints were filed in the United States District Court, Central District of California, Southern Division, but were all subsequently denied.
Later in 2002, Tasco and Celestron, now under the ownership of Bushnell Performance Optics, fired back with lawsuits also in the District Court of California, alleging Meade Corporation products infringed on a United States patent entitled "Tripod Structure for Telescopes." Both companies sought injunctive relief and compensatory damages in an unspecified amount, and attorneys' fees and costs. In December 2002, the District Court denied both Celestron's and Tasco’s motion .
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Among amateur astronomers, Tasco telescopes have a variable reputation. As Tasco has relations with Celestron, a company generally trusted by amateur astronomers for good-quality instruments, many Tasco telescopes are similar or identical to Celestron telescopes. However, most Tasco telescopes are usually purchased from a department store, a source that most amateurs find unsuitable for purchasing telescopes. Many of its telescopes, especially the 30 - 50mm refractor variety, are sold with extra features such as an included microscope kit, but the telescope itself is often sold on a tabletop mount or is handheld and can be worth as little as $10 USD. Like most department store refractors, the objective lenses often are non-achromatic and the eyepieces are sold in 0.965 inch-size barrels as Huygens (H), regarded as some of the worst by amateur astronomers. Tasco and Bushnell telescopes are often avoided by amateurs because they are new to the astronomical community, and of their emphasis on magnification, which is regarded as unimportant by most amateur astronomers.
- http://www.company7.com/celestron/news/tasco.html accessed Sept 17, 2007.
- As magnification is determined by the focal length of the telescope divided by that of the eyepiece, advertised magnification is irrelevant.
- http://www.ftc.gov/opa/2002/05/meadecelestron.shtm accessed Sept 15, 2007
- MidOcean Partners and Management Announce Acquisition Of Bushnell Outdoor Products, Inc. from Wind Point Partners
- Miramar, Fla.-Based Binocular, Telescope Distributor Starts to Liquidate. The Miami Herald (FL), May 29, 2002.
- http://www.skyandtelescope.com/news/3306111.html?page=1&c=y accessed Sept 17, 2007.
- http://sec.edgar-online.com/2003/05/29/0000892569-03-001421/Section5.asp accessed Sept 14, 2007.
- NIGHTWATCH: A Practical Guide to Viewing the Universe, Terence Dickinson, ISBN 1-55209-302-6 , Third Edition, pg 76: "Eyepieces", pg 75: "How Powerful Is It?".
- Tasco. Enjoy the View