Text Box:     VINTAGE MINIATURE BINOCULARS

Japanese External Reverse Porro Prism Binoculars.   VIRTUAL MUSEUM

MARK OHNO

Please note: a great amount of effort has been made to try to be as accurate as possible. But   information about distribution tends to be scarce and fragmentary, and errors or misinterpretation are possible and/or probable. Please keep in mind that any errors are unintentional, and will be cheerfully corrected upon notification And that this is a not for profit attempt to document otherwise unavailable aspects of binocular history by optics enthusiasts, for the benefit of optics enthusiasts. The distinction between Japanese manufacturers, exporters, and distributors and importing country wholesale and retail distribution may be blurred, so I have been generous about inclusion.

Text Box: Historical Information: Wholesale Distributors. Historische Informationen: Großhandel Distributoren. Information Historique : la Distribution en Gros. 歴史情報:卸売販売代理店. Историческая справка : Оптовая Дистрибьюторы. Historisk Information : Partihandlare. Información Histórica : Distribuidores al por Mayor.
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MINIATURE BINOCULAR BRANDS ( OWNED): RKK RIKEN BINOCULARS

PRIMARY SOURCES OF INFORMATION: CAMERAPEDIA

Text Box: Riken Kōgaku Kōgyō K.K. (JAPAN)
理研光学工業㈱
Riken Optical Industries Co

Riken Kōgaku Kōgyō K.K. ( 理研光学工業㈱ ) was formed in 1938, but it’s origins date to to Rikagaku Kenkyūjo, 理化学研究所 , meaning Physico-Chemical Research Institute, or more correctly Kokuritsu Kenkyū Kaihatsu Hōjin Rikagaku Kenkyūsho / 国立研究開発法人理化学研究所 ? . The research institute was founded initially as a private foundation in 1917, and in addition to pure research from around 1927 it also created the Riken Konzern to spin off commercial firms using scientific achievements of the research institute (in 1937 at its peak it had 63 firms with 121 factories.) After the war the commercial entities ceased to be part of the foundation and in 1958 the research portion became a public corporation funded by the government as a national research institute. So the history is complex. Riken Kōgaku Kōgyō K.K. exported a good number of 6x15 binoculars to the United States during the occupation period and shortly thereafter and these are marked “RKK” and “Riken” and sometimes also carry the name of US distributors, and after 1953 was known for Ricoh cameras. The company became Ricoh (K.K. Rikō , リコー) in 1964, but this was probably after their production of miniature binoculars ceased. The current multi national entity Ricoh Co Ltd may have largely evolved from the sister photographic paper company.

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   MARKET
Text Box: YOKOSHO CO. LTD.  (JAPAN)
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   MARKET
Text Box:  EUROPE
     MARKET

BRANDS W/ MINIATURE BINOCULAR:(believed associated) YOKOSHO BINOCULARS,

PRIMARY SOURCES OF INFORMATION: U.S. DEPT OF COMMERCE FOREIGN COMMERCE WEEKLY 1958, YOKOHAMA TRADE GUIDE 1954

The 1954 US Dept of Commerce foreign Commerce weekly lists Yokosho Co Ltd. as a “manufacturer and exporter of optical goods, electrical appliances, radios, watch straps, etc and general merchandise.” It is believed but speculative that they are responsible for Yokosho brand binoculars. The Yokohama Trade Guide of 1954 lists Yokosho Co Ltd (probably the same entity) as being located at no 30 Miharudai, Minami ku, Yokohama, and is described as being a general exporter.   

Text Box: SELSI CO., INC (USA)
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   MARKET

BRANDS W/ MINIATURE BINOCULAR:(owned) SELSI BINOCULARS,

PRIMARY SOURCES OF INFORMATION: US PATENTS AND TRADEMARK OFFICE, VARIOUS RESEARCH POSTS INCLUDING BY JUNKEESHOP, MANTA, NEW JERSEY DIV OF REVENUE & ENTERPRISE SERVICES

Selsi was founded in 1854 as the Sussfield Lorch Co, an importer of European optical products. By 1900 they were Sussfield, Lorsch and Schimmel (the names of principals). They used the trade name “ S E LS I” derived from S ussfi e ld, L orsch and S ch i mmel anong others. They filed a trademark for “SELSI” for binoculars on March 30, 1926 (still in force) and in 1929 were Selsi Company. They were one of the first importers to open offices in Japan after WWII. The New jersey Div Of revenue & Enterprise lists Selsi company inc as active, as having incorporated in New Jersey 9/15/1967 and as currenly located in Midland Park, NJ. Selsi products included binoculars, monoculars, microscopes, telescopes, barometers, pedometers, clocks, drafting sets, and probably other things, and Selsi branded binoculars are common in the USA.

Text Box: ARROW TRADING CO., INC (USA)
Text Box:     USA     
   MARKET

BRANDS W/ MINIATURE BINOCULAR:(believed owned or used) ARROW BINOCULARS,

PRIMARY SOURCES OF INFORMATION: NY DIV OF CORPORATIONS, OBSERVED MARKING ON ARROW BINOCULARS BOX INDICATING ARROW TRADING CO INC WAS THE EXCLUSIVE DISTRIBUTOR

US distributor Arrow Trading Co., Inc. was incorporated in NY on August 27, 1969 (though probably operated before that) and   was dissolved by proclamation Dec 27, 2000.

MINIATUUR JAPANSE VERREKIJKERS

MINIATUROWE LORNETKI

PIENOISKOOSKA JAPANILAINEN KIIKARIT

μικροσκοπικά κιάλια

ミニチュア双眼鏡

ống nhòm mini

مناظير مصغرة اليابانيةچھوٹے جاپانی دوربین

BINÓCULOS JAPONÊS EM MINIATURA

DÛRBÎN JAPANESE XWEBIXWE

دوربین دوچشمی ژاپنی مینیاتوری

MINIATUUR JAPANESE BINOCULAERS

MINIJATURNI JAPANSKI DALEKOZOR

MINIATURNÍ JAPONSKÉ DALEKOHLEDY

MALIIT NA LARAWAN JAPANESE LARGABISTA

MINIATYURA YAPONIYA DURBIN

BINOCOLO GIAPPONESE IN MINIATURA

TEROPONG KECIL JEPUN TYHULASI AMANCINANE JAPANESE

ỐNG NH Ò M MINIATURE NH Â T BảN

సూక్ష్మ జపనీస్ దూరదర్శిని

மினியேச்சர் ஜப்பனீஸ் தொலைநோக்கியின்

KEKERAN   JEPANG MINIATUR

کوچني د جاپان د فير

CASRIGA GHADAFI JAPANESE

MINIJATURNI JAPANSKI DALEKOZORI

MINYATI LONGVI JAPON È

L Í TIL JAPANSKA SJ Ó NAUKI

MINIAT Ü R T Á VCS Ö

 

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Text Box: OTSUKA OPTICAL CO LTD. (JAPAN)
大塚光学株式会社

BRANDS W/ MINIATURE BINOCULARS (TRADEMARKS OWNED): DIA STAR BINOCULARS, DIA STONE BINOCULARS

BRANDS W/ REGULAR BINOCULARS: (TRADEMARKS OWNED): PIPIT BINOCULARS

PRIMARY SOURCES OF INFORMATION: OTSUKA OPTICAL CO. LTD WEBSITE

Otsuka Optical Co Ltd of Saitama Japan was founded Nov. 9, 1956, and is still active. They design produce and distribute binoculars, astronomical telescopes, rifle scopes, and spotting scopes under their brand names, plus lenses and optical machines. They are known to have had products made for them by Carton Optical Co., Kenco Co Ltd, Mizar Co Ltd., Olympus Imaging Corp, Uchida Yoko Co., Ltd, Vixen Co Ltd., and probably some other companies   in the past. Their products are known to have been distributed in the following markets: the USA, UK, France, Italy, Sweden, Denmark, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Japan, and other Asian countries.