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Timeline of Edmund Optics Innovations

1942: Norman W. Edmund establishes Edmund Salvage, a small surplus optics supply business in New Jersey.

1943: The first Edmund Catalog is mailed with about 40 optical components described in six pages.

1948: Robert Edmund is born. Norman begins to diversify his company by distributing scientific and educational instruments. The founder has become passionate about supplying equipment for science education.

1949: Norman Edmund, recognizing that Japan made excellent optics for its war effort, makes an international business trip to seek optical components for his catalog.

1957: The company becomes Edmund Scientific.

1969: Optical components from Edmund Scientific travel to the moon and are used as part of Apollo 11's historic lunar landing.

1970: Robert Edmund joins the company full time as accounting and personnel manager, tries to steer his father into focusing only on optics, not other scientific instruments.

1975: Norman Edmund retires and Robert becomes president.

1984: Edmund Scientific begins move into the industrial optics market.

1987: Cementing its move into the industrial optics market, Edmund distributes its first industrial optics catalog, which includes the TECHSPEC line of optical components. The new product line is the result of a business relationship Robert developed with John Plummer, a friend and former colleague of Norman Edmund who became a leading manufacturer of optical products and technologies.

1992: Edmund Optics begins designing custom optomechanical assemblies using its large inventory of optical components. Its optics are used by the U.S. military in Operation Desert Storm.

1993: Edmund Optics opens a sourcing and distribution location in Shanghai, China.

1995: Edmund Optics establishes a sales and procurement office in Tokyo and the catalog is printed in Japanese with pricing in yen. 1997: Robert Edmund becomes the company's CEO.

1998: The Tucson Design Center opens in Arizona.

1999: Edmund Optics opens an office in the United Kingdom and begins printing a UK edition of the catalog. EO launches an electronic imaging resource guide. Company board of directors created, with Robert as chairman.

2000: Edmund Optics acquires the assets of Plummer Precision Optics, which includes a manufacturing plant in Singapore. EO opens a sales office in Germany and receives ISO 9001 certification.

2001: Edmund sells its scientific division to Science Kit & Boreal Labs and opens a new plant in Pennsburg, PA, with metal machining and optical coating capabilities.

2005: EO launches an official R&D team, a French sales office, and a clean room assembly facility in China.

2006: EO announces breakthrough LED illumination technology and receives $2.8 million U.S. military contract for advanced optical manufacturing tools. Korean office and Korean catalog created.

2007: EO offers edge-blackened optics to aid an engineering problem with stray light and begins printing a "Master Source Book" that includes technical articles and application guides for optical system designers.

2008: With a catalog and source book now showing more than 15,000 optical products and offering application guides and technical articles, Edmund Optics introduces aspherized achromats. Aspherized Achromats, which bridge the gap between color-corrected achromats and spherical aberration corrected aspheres, receive honorable mention in the 2008 PhAST/Laser Focus World Innovation Awards Program. Edmund Optics GmbH (EOG) announces move to larger facilities in Karlsruhe, Germany.


This timeline is an expanded version of the timeline that was printed in SPIE Professional magazine with the companion article about Robert Edmund of Edmund Optics.

DOI: 10.1117/2.4200807.48

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