Meade Instruments, Then and Now

Meade LX200-ACF

Meade 8" LX200R Telescope

Meade Scopes at a Great Price. Largest Selection & Free Shipping!

Meade mySky

Meade mySKY

Meade mySky your personal hand held guide to the night sky! Meade scopes and accessories available at Woodland Hills Camera & Telescope

Meade Lightbridge

Meade LightBridge Telescopes

Its not just a big scope. Its a big telescope that goes anywhere.

New LightBridge truss-dobs from Meade take down and set up quickly. So you can take one of these massive windows on the universe out to your favorite dark sky locations with ease. LightBridge dobs give you high quality Meade optics, premium components, and ultra portability.

Need a focal reducer?Available at Woodland Hills Camera & Telescope!





John Diebel, Founder of Meade Instruments

John Diebel, Founder of Meade Instruments

Meade Instruments is a world leading manufacturing company of telescopes. John Diebel, a young electrical engineer who started the company from his kitchen table, founded Meade Instruments in 1972 selling small telescopes and eyepieces. John started the company with a small investment of $2,500 loaned to him from The Hughes Aircraft Credit Union. With the $2,500 in hand, John used it to buy a selection of refracting telescopes from a Japanese manufacturer. John placed a small ad in the July 1972 issue of Sky & Telescope magazine. John’s small ad netted him enough profit to quit his engineering job with Hughes Aircraft and pursue his developing telescope company full-time.

Meade’s 6” and 8” reflecting telescopes became so popular and in huge demand by the growing amateur astronomy community that Meade Instruments had a backlog of at least six months. The company promised to have delivery within 6 to 8 weeks, so each and every one of Meade’s customers was written a personal letter explaining the backlog and delivery situation and was offered an immediate and full refund of their money. No customers accepted Meade’s offer and instead waited it out for their telescope. Meade was able to delivery each telescope to their customers as promised by working long shifts and adding additional manpower, Meade was able to send out customer’s telescopes out in three months instead of the projected six-month wait.

Among the amateur astronomy community Meade Instruments was rapidly becoming known as the company that one could trust and that made reliable quality telescopes, eyepieces, camera adapters, and other accessories. By 1977 Meade was offering a broad range. In 1978, only six years after John started Meade Instruments, the company introduced its Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope. Meade had worked three long hard years to develop and produce its original Meade 2080 8” Schmidt-Cassegrain. By Meade introducing this telescope to the amateur astronomy community it was able to show that the company was a leading manufacturer of telescopes.

Each year Meade would develop new products, but would eventually be the leader of the SCT technology.Through out the 1980s Meade’s sales of the SCT’s grew quickly as did the demand for advanced compact and user-friendly telescopes. Meade’s engineers showed the astronomy community that not only were they focusing on building better SCTs, but also building new products.

In 1992, Meade introduced its “"go-to" telescope Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope. Meade LX200-ACF series of the Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope.For the amateur these telescopes opened up a whole new world to discovering the night sky. These telescopes allowed the user to simply push a button and direct their telescope to locate any night object in the sky automatically. Meade’s engineering of this product was a giant leap in technology and were made affordable to the amateur astronomer. 

The LX200-ACF gained popularity and was being widely used by the amateur and professional alike. Meade Instruments telescopes were and still are being used in universities, scientific laboratories and in aerospace firms. Meade telescopes were used in the discovery of Comet Hale-Bopp and have also flown on the Space Shuttle. 

The ETX was introduced in 1990s. The telescope was known as “Everybody’s Telescope” an economical, quick to set, go-to telescope. The ETX 90 became a successful telescope because it uses 90mm aperture Maksutov-Cassegrain optical design that produces sharp and clear images and has a high degree of resistance to vibrations and shock. This important trait of the ETX is what makes it so attractive to astronomers and for land use as well. Within in one year of its introduction was one of the largest selling telescopes ever sold. The ETX was so popular that customers wanted to buy a larger telescope. It looked like John Diebel’s original vision of getting more people attracted to astronomy was working. Meade engineers took the computerized features of its $15,000 telescopes and placed them in its $595 telescopes to make it more affordable to a larger number of people. Meade advertisements promised that children would be able to have an enjoyable experience seeing the rings of Saturn to looking at the feathers on a bird. Meade’s engineering team took two years to figure out how to exactly do it. But it paid off, Meade Instruments controls more than half of the U.S. market sales to the amateur astronomy community.

John Diebel in April of 1997 took Meade public, which is traded on NASDAQ under “MEAD”. By taking the company public this allowed John to find the funding necessary to help fuel his vision into production and along with paying for the advertising in the numerous astronomy and other magazines. In 1988, a person was unable to buy a science-oriented magazine without finding themselves seeing advertisements for the ETX. Meade once again showed the astronomy community how much of a leading telescope manufacturer that it is.

The Franklin Institute awarded John Diebel with “The Bower Award For Business Leadership” in 1998. The award is a testimonial to John’s great leadership in the amateur astronomy community and making it more affordable to the general public. In July 1999, Chuck Allen presented John with Astronomical League “President’s Award”. The award is only presented to a few people, who have contributed greatly to the astronomy community.

Meade is a company that strives for continual innovation in its industry. Meade was the first company to introduce an 8” Schmidt-Cassegrain with a worm-gear drive and to have the first commercial available Schmidt-Cassegrain that included an integrated electric drive system. They were the first to have apochromatic refractors with automatic slewing and the first company to introduce Go To capability. Meade did not stop there with the continuous updating of their products and inventing new and exciting products. In 2002, Meade invented the first ultra high transmission coatings for commercial catadioptric telescopes. Meade engineers are always striving to make new and exciting high quality products now and in the future such as mySky.

Meade ETX-90PE

Meade ETX-90PE

Go To Capability! See the Stars Quickly and Easily with ETX's Go To Feature!

Buy Meade Accessories for all your Meade scopes.

Meade Eyepieces

Say goodbye to the phrase, you should have been there. Whether its a mountain goat leaping a gorge, a record-breaking home run, or a rafting trip through the rapids of the Colorado River, now you can view the action so close and capture it as digital images or video clips Meade's line of CaptureView Binoculars.

Coronado Solar Telescopes

Coronado Solar Telescopes

Coronado Telescopes from Meade are the prefect way to see the Sun! We sell a large line of Coronado telescopes from the PST to the Solar Max to the Calcium K!

Need a Dew Shield to protect your telescope? We have them at Woodland Hills Camera & Telescope!

Information on:

The History of Meade Instruments Telescopes

Star parties


Astronomy Terms

Comet Hunters




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