Tasco (also known as Tasco Worldwide) is a major distributor of consumer telescopes. Tasco mainly imports telescopes for amateur astronomers but has expanded into other optical products, such as spotting scopes, microscopes, binoculars, telescopic sights, and other rifle accessories. Tasco sells via specialty outlets, catalogs, and online retailers. Tasco is based in Miramar, Florida. George Rosenfield founded the firm as the Tanross Supply Company in 1954. It started as a distributor of fishing tackle and hardware. The name was later shortened to Tasco as inventory expanded to include binoculars and eyepieces.
Three categories of telescopes are available from Tasco - Novice, Luminova, and Spacestation. Each family has several models. 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 power.
Tasco's astronomical telescopes have a noted poor reputation as usable instruments. It is one of several companies that follows the deceptive practice of advertising their products based on claims of high magnification, far beyond any attainable usable magnification. Tasco's astronomical products usually get lumped in with the whole series of telescopes pejoratively referred to as "department store telescopes", low quality and low-cost instruments targeted at the impulse purchase market.
Tasco imports binoculars with magnifications range between seven and ten power 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. Users can transfer images to a computer through a USB cable. Tasco provides software for viewing and printing.
Tasco offers several models of spotting scopes. These scopes are designed for rugged outdoor use and feature rubber armor protection as well as optional camouflage. Models have magnifications between 12 and 45 times, and feature panoramic view finding.
Tasco was founded and owned by George Rosenfield in 1954. In March 1996, Rosenfield sold the business. At that time, Tasco employed 160 people at its Florida headquarters, and maintained a location in the state of Washington, which employed another 40. In June 1998, Tasco purchased Celestron, another telescope manufacturer which focused on performance optical equipment and the more serious observer. Celestron was second only to Meade Instruments Corporation in sales of telescopes.
On Sept. 5, 2013, Alliant Techsystems announced it had entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Bushnell. Under the terms of the transaction, ATK paid $985 million in cash, subject to customary post-closing adjustments.
ATK spun-off Vista Outdoor upon closing its merger with Orbital Sciences and became Orbital ATK on February 9, 2015. Anyone holding ATK common stock at the end of the business day on February 2, 2015 received two shares of Vista Outdoor common stock. Eligible shareholders had their brokerage account credited or received a book-entry account statement reflecting their ownership. Vista Outdoor was thus initially 100% owned by ATK shareholders. Vista Outdoor stock traded on a "when-issued" basis from January 29, 2015 to February 9, 2015. It began "regular way" trading on the New York Stock Exchange on February 10, 2015 under the ticker symbol "VSTO." No payment or action of any kind was required of shareholders. This transaction was conducted on a tax-free basis. Shareholders subject to American taxes generally did not have to recognize a gain or loss for federal tax purposes.
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.
Later in 2002, Tasco and Celestron, then under the ownership of Bushnell Performance Optics, fired back with lawsuits also in the District Court of California, alleging Meade 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.
- http://www.company7.com/celestron/news/tasco.html accessed Sept 17, 2007.
- As the focal length of the telescope divided by that of the eyepiece determines magnification; advertised magnification is irrelevant.
- Philip S. Harrington, Star Ware: The Amateur Astronomer's Guide to Choosing, Buying, and Using Telescopes and Accessories, John Wiley & Sons - 2011, page 80
- Rod Mollise, The Good Tasco, Uncle Rod's Astro Blog. Sunday, July 13, 2008
- Michael Borgia, Human Vision and The Night Sky: How to Improve Your Observing Skills, Springer Science & Business Media - 2006, page 1
- NIGHTWATCH: A Practical Guide to Viewing the Universe, Terence Dickinson, ISBN 1-55209-302-6 , Third Edition, pg 65: "Trash-Scope Blues"
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- Tasco Official Website.