Leupold & Stevens

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Leupold & Stevens, Inc.
IndustryOptics and lenses
Key people
Bruce Pettet, CEO
Revenueapprox. $160 million (2010)[1]
Number of employees
approx. 700 (Nov. 2010)[1]

Leupold & Stevens, Inc. is an American manufacturer of telescopic sights, red dot sights, spotting scopes, and binoculars located in Beaverton, Oregon, United States. The company, started in 1907, is family owned and has been run by five generations of the family.[2][3]


Leupold & Stevens was founded by the German immigrant Markus Friedrich (Fred) Leupold and his brother-in-law Adam Voelpel in 1907, under the name Leupold & Voelpel. At the time, the company specialized in the repair of survey equipment.[4] In 1911, Leupold & Voelpel was contracted by John Cyprian (J.C.) Stevens to manufacture a water level recorder he had designed and patented. After the initial success of the product, he was made partner in 1914 and the company was renamed Leupold, Voelpel, and Co.[5] Besides the first water level recorder, the company invented several other innovative pieces of equipment, such as the Telemark water recorder which was patented in 1939.[5] This device could transmit water level information via telephone, allowing for remote monitoring of water resources to become feasible.

In 1942, the company name was changed to its present form, Leupold & Stevens. Surveying equipment, rifle scopes, and related products are sold under the "Leupold" name, while water monitoring instrumentation, such as level and flow recorders, are marketed under the "Stevens" brand.[5]

After World War II Leupold & Stevens began making gun scopes after Marcus Leupold failed to hit a deer with his rifle. His scope fogged up and he is reported to have exclaimed "Hell! I could build a better scope than this!" as the deer bounded off.[3][4] By 1979, the Leupold scopes were generating twice the total revenue of Stevens instruments.[3][6]

In 1969, the company acquired a majority interest in the company Nosler Bullets (also a family company), and then sold off their portion in 1988.[3][4] Other ventures include Biamp Systems 1985-1986 makers of sound equipment and Fabmark 1984-1990 a sheet metal fabrication division that serviced high technology companies.

By 1996, the company had sales of $100 million.[4] In 1998, the water monitoring portion of Leupold & Stevens was spun off into its own privately held Portland-based business, Stevens Water Monitoring Systems, inc., with Leupold & Stevens also retaining the "Stevens" name as part of their corporate identity.[6] In 2002, Leupold & Stevens won a Wausau Insurance Gold Award for workplace safety at the company’s factory.[7] By 2006, the company employed 600 people at its Beaverton facility.[8] The company is now in its fifth generation of ownership.[3]

In 2008, Leupold & Stevens purchased Redfield Optics along with its brand name and all intellectual property rights.[9] In 2010, the company added almost 100 employees, bringing total employment to almost 700 by November of that year.[1] In late 2010, a Portland Business Journal article gave the company's annual revenue as approximately $160 million, citing Reference.com for the estimate.[1] A new chief executive, Bruce Pettet, was named in February 2014.[10]


Leupold and Stevens Mark 6 scope with variable magnification 3-18x44mm, mounted on a M24 SWS.
IDF M24 SWS with Leupold Mark 6 3-18x44mm sniper scope.

The company’s scopes are used by organizations such as the United States Army, the Secret Service and the Navy SEALs.[11] The United States Navy and the Marine Corps also use their scopes.[12] The Israel Defense Forces also use Mark 4 and Mark 6 Leupold scopes. Leupold & Stevens also manufactures binoculars for sport hunting.[2]

The 2014 high NRA metallic silhouette Nation Championship equipment survey lists Leupold as the most popular scope manufacturer for both the high power and high power hunter competition.[13]

In 2018, a coalition of groups, including Portland Democratic Socialists of America, Lutherans for Justice in the Holy Land, Portland's Resistance, and the Portland chapter of the pro-BDS group Jewish Voice for Peace criticized Leupold & Stevens for supplying scopes to Israeli forces.[14]. Leupold responded to the criticism in a statement:

We are not a military or political organization, nor are we a weapons manufacturer, we are a fifth-generation, family-owned company that designs, machines, and assembles the world's best sporting optics and other optical accessories, while providing nearly 700 family wage jobs for hardworking Oregonians.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d Siemers, Erik (November 12, 2010). "Leupold & Stevens targets new markets". Portland Business Journal. Retrieved December 18, 2012.
  2. ^ a b Leeson, Fred (November 17, 1996). "All in the family". The Oregonian.
  3. ^ a b c d e Van Zwoll, Wayne (2007). 1907–2007 Leupold & Stevens ... The First Century. Primedia, Inc. ISBN 978-1-8929-4774-1.
  4. ^ a b c d Marks, Anita (February 14, 1997). "Origin of the Species". Portland Business Journal. Retrieved December 18, 2012.
  5. ^ a b c Stevens, John Cyprian. The Autobiography of a Civil Engineer, published 1959.
  6. ^ a b Brinckman, Jonathan (March 10, 2006). "Firm no longer out of its depth in digital age: Scott South modernizes Stevens Water Monitoring of Beaverton". The Oregonian.
  7. ^ "Leupold & Stevens recognized for workplace safety". Portland Business Journal. September 24, 2002. Retrieved December 19, 2012.
  8. ^ Monroe, Bill (February 27, 2006). "Oregon firms get SHOT in arm". The Oregonian.
  9. ^ http://www.redfield.com/redfield-story/
  10. ^ Kish, Matthew (February 24, 2014). "Leupold & Stevens names new CEO". Portland Business Journal. Retrieved 25 February 2014.
  11. ^ "World-class Oregon". ( October 2, 2005). The Oregonian.
  12. ^ Woodward, Steve (October 14, 2001). "Military shops in Oregon". The Oregonian.
  13. ^ "NRA 2014 National Championship Final Bulletin" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 10 October 2015. Retrieved 24 March 2017.
  14. ^ https://www.jpost.com/BDS-THREAT/Activists-demand-Portland-basketball-team-boycott-Israel-564170

External links[edit]