David P. Bushnell
|David P. Bushnell|
Bushnell in late 1949 in Pasadena, holding a child.
|Born||David Pearsall Bushnell
March 31, 1913
Saint Paul, Minnesota
|Died||March 24, 2005
Laguna Beach, California
|Known for||Founder of Bushnell optics company|
David Pearsall Bushnell (March 31, 1913 - March 24, 2005) was an American entrepreneur who founded the Bushnell optics company in 1948. Through a strategy of importation from foreign manufacturers who provided optics to his specifications, Bushnell made binoculars widely available to middle-class Americans for the first time. As of 2006, Bushnell Optical remained the leading seller of binoculars in the United States.
Early life and education
Bushnell was born in Saint Paul, Minnesota and raised in Los Angeles, California. From 1930 to 1933, he studied engineering at California Institute of Technology (Caltech), paying for his tuition by selling newspapers. He then dropped out to travel around the world. Bushnell returned after 8 months and attended the University of Southern California where he earned a business degree in 1936.
After graduation, Bushnell began an import-export business, which included importing Belgian cement and Iranian bracelets, and exporting asbestos and old Salvation Army shoes to China. During World War II, Bushnell worked for Lockheed. In 1948, on an extended honeymoon with his second wife who was also in foreign trade, he bought some binoculars in Japan. When he and his wife returned to California, his success selling 400 pair in otherwise awkward circumstances put him in the optical business. Binoculars were soon joined by riflescopes and various other optical equipment, such as spotting scopes and telescopes. Half of a pair of Bushnell Custom Compact binoculars served as part of the backup navigation system in a Gemini space flight.
Bushnell sold his company to Bausch & Lomb (B&L) in 1971 and retired in 1974 as a vice-president of B&L.
- Bayot, Jennifer. "David Bushnell, 92, Importer of Affordable Binoculars, Dies", The New York Times, March 31, 2005.
- "Of Note", The Washington Post, April 7, 2005.
- Oliver, Myrna. "David Bushnell, 91; Founded Binocular Company With Products Made in Asia", Los Angeles Times, March 30, 2005.
- Buchroeder, Richard and Peter Abrahams. "David Pearsall Bushnell", Interview, October 29, 1999.