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Precision Optical was founded in 1959 by Chester and Ruth Berry. Chester was an early pioneer in the world of optics. He contributed to some notable projects during the 1940's and 50's, including the manufacture of large mirrors for the Palomar Observatory in San Diego County, California.
In 1959, the Berrys went into business for themselves and founded Precision Optical. They opened a small shop on the west side of Costa Mesa at 643 West 17th Street. They saw a burgeoning demand for corner cube reflectors and solid glass rangefinders. Chester developed innovative manufacturing methods, including the use of molded blanks, optical contacting, and replication coatings. These methods greatly enhanced manufacturing efficiency and quality.
Over the next decades, Precision Optical enjoyed great success selling solid retro-reflectors to the surveying and space industries. Precision Optical sold reflectors to support the Apollo Program. In the 1980's and into the 90's the company shifted its primary focus from the surveying industry to defense and the burgeoning fields of semi-conductor, aircraft, satellite, and bio-medical technology and manufacture.
The Lambert family took over ownership of the company in the early 90's. Ruth and Chester continued to work for the company until their retirement in the 2000's. Every year, one employee is selected by the whole company to receive the "Founders' Award," which is named after Ruth and Chester. Chester passed away in 2008 at 92 years of age. Ruth has retired, but she regularly attends company parties and events.
Today, Precision Optical is poised to enter the next era of its long and storied existence. In October of 2011, the company moved across town into a new and much larger facility. Located at 320 Kalmus Drive in Costa Mesa, the new facility was custom-designed by Precision Optical to be an ideal optics manufacturing plant. The company has also acquired new metrology and manufacturing equipment, making it one of the world's most well-equipped optical manufacturing companies.
More than 50 years after Chester and Ruth founded the company, Precision Optical remains family-centered and committed to providing a fun, friendly, and challenging work environment for its employees.