MINIATURE BINOCULAR BRANDS: (UK & EU TM owner) COMMODORE BINOCULARS ; (UK trademark owner) REVUE BINOCULARS (in upper case letters)

PRIMARY SOURCES OF INFORMATION: UK GOV. COMPANIES HOUSE, UK GOV. INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY OFFICE, WIKEPEDIA

The origins of this company was Littlewoods Pools, a sports wagering organization (1923) which subsequently added a catalog retail component around 1932 by selling through “clubs” of independent sales agents (a sales method similar to that of Amway) and was incorporated. In 1937 Littlewoods started also opening conventional high street retail stores. The company has and has had various affiliated companies with the same registered address of Skyways House, Speke Rd, Speke, Liverpool UK. Littlewoods Ltd held UK trademark 993978 for “Commodore” for binoculars 6/1972-2017, . Additionally the entity Commodore International Ltd of Regent St London holds an EU trademark 2945137 for Commodore for binoculars, spotting scopes, telescopes & telescopic sights from Nov 2002 to Nov 2022. Littlewoods held UK trademark #852522 for “REVUE” (in upper case letters) for photographic equipment and binoculars 1963-2008. By 1982 Littlewoods was the largest private company in Europe.

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EHRENREICH PHOTO OPTICAL INDUSTRIES (USA)

NIPPON KOGAKU USA INC.,

NIKON OPTICAL COMPANY, INC.      

MINIATURE BINOCULAR BRANDS (handled) NIPPON KOGAKU BINOCULARS, NIKON BINOCULARS. (believed owned) UNITRON BINOCULARS

PRIMARY SOURCES OF INFORMATION: NIKON CORPORATE HISTORY BY NICO VAN DIJK, NIKON WEBSITE, 1978 EHRENRICH ADVERTISEMENT, NY DIVISION OF CORPORATIONS, US PATENT AND TRADEMAK OFFICE

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.

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MINIATURE BINOCULAR BRANDS ( OWNED): RKK RIKEN BINOCULARS

PRIMARY SOURCES OF INFORMATION: CAMERAPEDIA

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 the company 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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YOKOSHO CO. LTD. (JAPAN)

    USA     

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MINIATURE BINOCULARS BRANDS:(believed associated) YOKOSHO BINOCULARS

FULL SIZED BINOCULARS BRANDS: (believed associated) YOKOSHO BINOCULARS

PRIMARY SOURCES OF INFORMATION: U.S. DEPT OF COMMERCE FOREIGN COMMERCE WEEKLY 1958

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.” I believe they may be responsible for Yokosho brand binoculars.

C.R. KENNEDY (SALES) PTY, LTD. (AUSTRALIA)

SELSI CO., INC (USA)

BRANDS W/ MINIATURE BINOCULAR:(US TM owner) SELSI BINOCULARS,

BRANDS FULL SIZE BINOCULAR:(US TM owner) SELSI, STEREOPHOS 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. They held U.S. trademark # 71229410 for “ SELSI ” for binoculars and telescopes from 3/1926 to 10/1967, (still in force) and US TM #71376696 for STEREOPHOS for binoculars 1936-1986. They were one of the first importers to open offices in Japan after WWII. The New Jersey Div Of revenue lists Selsi Company Inc as active, as having incorporated in New Jersey 9/15/1967 and is currently 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.

ARROW TRADING CO., INC (USA)

    USA     

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

PRIMARY SOURCES OF INFORMATION: NY DIV OF CORPORATIONS, OBSERVED MARKINGS ON ARROW BINOCULARS AND OPERA GLASSES BOXES INDICATING ARROW TRADING CO INC WAS THE EXCLUSIVE DISTRIBUTOR

The US distributor Arrow Trading Co., Inc. was incorporated in NY on August 27, 1969 (though probably operated before that) and was dissolved by proclamation on Dec 27, 2000. Arrow trading Co. appears to have been involved in a dispute over marketing a red handled camping knife made in China as a Swiss Army knife. Arrow Trading held a trademark for Arrow for knives and presumably used it on binoculars also.

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

MINIATURE BINOCULARS BRANDS (TRADEMARKS OWNED, probably Japanese trademarks): 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 USA, UK, France, Italy, Sweden, Denmark, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Japan, and other Asian countries.

L.S. BITTERMAN CO., INC. (USA)

MINIATURE BINOCULAR BRANDS (used) BITTCO BINOCULARS

PRIMARY SOURCES OF INFORMATION: DAUGHTER OF OWNER, DIR US IMPORTERS 1978, 1982

The L. S. Bitterman “BITTCO” brand appears on various mostly Japanese photo products such as lenses, tripods, shutter releases, lens hoods, exposure meters, camera cases, slide viewers and also appears on some microscopes, binoculars, and opera glasses, and even on Japanese made handcuffs. According to the daughter of one of the owners, L. S. Bitterman was a family owned and operated wholesale business founded in the 1940’s by Louis and Nathan Bitterman, with another brother joining them, and her father joining them when he returned from WWII. Directories show it located at 5508 First Ave S., Seattle, Washington 98108 USA at one point. The company appears to have had a rather long life. L.S. Bitterman Co. appears in newspapers as a donor to Jewish causes in the Pacific northwest in the 1960’s, and also appears listed in trade directories into the 1980’s.

MARK SCHEFFEL HOLDINGS LTD. (UK)

SCIENTIFIC & TECHNICAL LTD

MINIATURE BINOCULAR BRANDS (believed owned or used) MARK SCHEFFEL BINOCULARS

PRIMARY SOURCES OF INFORMATION: BIRDS 1978, TRADE & INDUSTRY 1975

Mark Sheffel Holdings Ltd was established around 12/24/1968 and was located at the Towerfield Trading Estate/ Progress Road Trading Estate, Southend-On-Sea, Essex UK. In 1975 they advertised as being the exclusive UK distributors for Mark Scheffel binoculars. Around 12/31-1978 the company name apparently changed to Scientific & Technical Ltd, and the company was believed dissolved around 1980. Note: Information was patched together from fragmented sources.

LITTLEWOODS ORGANIZATION PLC (UK)

LITTLEWOODS PUBLIC LIMITED CO (UK)

LITTLEWOODS LTD (UK)

LITTLEWOODS RETAIL LTD (UK)

THE INTERNATIONAL IMPORT AND EXPORT CO LTD

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FERRANTI-DEGE (USA)

MINIATURE BINOCULAR BRAND (owned) FERRANTI-DEGE

PRIMARY SOURCES OF INFORMATION: WEB INFO

Ferranti–Dege was a family operated retail camera store located in Harvard Square at 1300 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, Ma. (Boston). They were founded in 1955, and closed Oct 13, 2006. They contracted for various binoculars marked with and marketed under their own name, including miniature binoculars that they acquired from Swift and sold with the Ferranti-Dege name on them.

    USA     

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    USA     

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YASHICA INC.( USA)

YASHIMA KŌGAKU KŌGYŌ K.K.

八洲光学工業㈱

K.K. Yashica/ ヤシカ ( JAPAN)

MINIATURE BINOCULAR BRANDS (US TM owner) YASHICA BINOCULARS

PRIMARY SOURCES OF INFORMATION: CAMERAPEDIA

Yashima Optical Industries ( Yashima Kōgaku Kōgyō K.K. / 八洲光学工業㈱ ) , founded in 1945 as Yashima Seiki Seisakusho/ 八洲精機製作所 / Yashima Precision Works) created the YASHICA brand in 1956 as a combination of YASHI ma and CA mera. In 1957 it formed the US marketing subsidiary Yashica, Inc in New York City. In 1958 the parent company in Japan became Kabushiki Kaisha Yashica / ヤシカ, or Yashica Co., Ltd. K.K. Yashica Inc held US trademark #72070833 for the stylized Yashica name as pictured above on binoculars, telescopes, cameras and other goods from March 1959 to 1982 when it was reassigned to the Japanese company.

It is my understanding that on July 23,1953 Ehrenreich Photo Optical Industries of Garden City New York formed Nippon Kogaku (USA) Inc. and Nikon Optical Company Inc. to act as US importers of Nippon Kogaku and Nikon products. Ehrenreich Photo Optical held US trademark #7315520 for “Unitron” for camera goods Jan 1978-1983 (Ehrenreich Photo Optical was purchased by Nikon Inc Japan in 1981) and presumably used it as a brand on binoculars, and Nikon Inc. transferred Unitron to Unitron Instruments in 1983.

1978 ADVERTISEMENT

    USA     

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EUROPE

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LIGHT OPTICAL WORKS, LTD. (JAPAN)

株式会社 ライト光機製作所

MINIATURE BINOCULAR BRANDS (owned) LIGHT BINOCULARS.

  PRIMARY SOURCES OF INFORMATION: LIGHT OPTICAL WORKS WEBSITE, VARIOUS OPTICAL FORUMS

Light Optical Works, Ltd., of Suwa City, Nagano Prefecture, Japan was founded in 1956 and is still in operation. They are a Trading Co, Exporter, Design and Engineering house, and OEM Supplier of both finished optical products and sub assemblies, particularly for rifle and spotting scopes, and also for binoculars. While most of their products have appeared under a wide variety of importer brand names, in some markets their products were and are also distributed under their own “Light” brand name, including miniature pattern binoculars at one time. While the details of OEM supply are always hard to confirm, in the last few decades Light Optical Works rifle scopes are believed to have been made for B & L/ Bushnell, Shepherd, Night Force, Clearidge, Lynx, Nitrex, & Vortex with parts and sub supplied to importers who wanted to do enough assembling to be able to claim “made in USA” or “made in Germany”. It has been confirmed by Light Optical Works Ltd that they made binoculars for Leupold, Cabellas, and Nitrex in the past few decades. It is not known what brands they may have supplied in the earlier era of miniature binoculars (1950’s to 1970’s). The products offered by Light Optical Works seem to be generally quite well regarded in the optics community.

TOKYO OPTICAL CO, LTD. (JAPAN)

TŌKYŌ KŌGAKU KIKAI K.K.

東京光学機械㈱

MINIATURE BINOCULAR BRANDS (probably owned in 1950’s) MAGNA BINOCULARS.

PRIMARY SOURCES OF INFORMATION: TOKYO KOGAKU AD, CAMERAPEDIA , GUNBOARDS.COM

TŌKYŌ KŌGAKU KIKAI K.K. was formed in 1932, from the measuring instrument division of Hattori Tokei-ten (Hattori Watch Shop, which later became Seiko Instrument Corp) and from a subcontractor Katsuma Kokai Seisakusho. Imperial Japanese Naval military binoculars with the Tokyo Kogaku Kikai logo and name and naval air force markings were known to have been produced during WWII, as well as sniper scopes and other optics, and the company had 964 employees making optical weapons during WWII. The company became known for the “Topcon” brand of cameras starting around 1953 and for the “Topcor” brand of lenses from around 1954. The company was a manufacturer and exporter of cameras, binoculars, microscopes, lenses, surveying instruments, camera meters, ophthalmic & medical instruments, and other optical goods. They distributed binoculars of various sizes in the post war period under the “Magna” binoculars brand (with most of the full size binoculars also carrying the TŌKYŌ KŌGAKU KIKAI logo as well as “Magna” brand name), and perhaps sold under other brand names. The successor to the company still exists and through acquisitions and development over the years is now involved in ophthalmic, therapeutic laser, machine remote control, positioning, agricultural technology, and various other diverse technology and optics markets.

Binoculars Advertisement, Tokyo Kokaku Kikai K.K, Journal of Finance and Commerce,1951, A Nippon Times Publication Library collection of Yale University

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KOYU CO. LTD. (JAPAN)

VIXEN. CO LTD (JAPAN)

KOYU INTERNATIONAL, INC (USA)

MINIATURE BINOCULAR BRANDS (US TM owner) VIXEN BINOCULARS, KOYU BINOCULARS

PRIMARY SOURCES OF INFORMATION: COMPANY SEVEN WEBSITE, VIXEN WEBSITE, CALIFORNIA SECRETARY OF STATE, POPULAR SCIENCE MAGAZINE 1965, US TRAEMARK AND PATENT OFFICES

Koyu Co. Ltd. was established in 1954 from a wholesale optical distributor that had originally been founded in Oct. 1949. In July 1957 Koyu established an export division. The manufacture and sale of astronomical telescopes commenced in 1966., and in 1969 the factory and manufacturing operation was separated to become the subsidiary Vixen Optics Ltd., located in Itabashi. A US import and distribution entity, Koyu International, Inc. of 3860 Crenshaw Blvd., Los Angeles, California, was incorporated on 8/17/1964. Koyu International Inc. advertised factory direct binoculars in magazines such as Popular Mechanics and Popular Science from 1965 to 1970. I believe most of these binoculars were branded “ VIXEN ”, though there is evidence at least some were branded or marked “ KOYU ”. In 1970 the parent company Koyu Co Ltd changed it’s name to Vixen Co Ltd. In 1971 a second manufacturing subsidiary was formed as Atlas Optics Corp in Itabashi, later moved to Hongo. The Vixen group of companies includes Vixen Co. Ltd., Vixen Research & Development industries Co., Ltd., and Vixen Optical Co Ltd., and they design, manufacture, export, and actively distribute astronomical telescopes, binoculars, spotting scopes, telescope accessories, and other optical products in at least 42 countries. Vixen Co Ltd holds US trademark # 74159332 for VIXEN for binoculars1992-present, and EU logo trademark 842310 for VIXEN for binoculars 1998-present, and current Madrid Monitor logo trademark valid in Australia Switzerland citing Japan trademark 5523039 for VIXEN for binoculars

JAPAN

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    USA     

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One of the Vixen Ltd buildings in Japan

M ” type “ Koyu

OLYMPUS KŌGAKU KŌGYŌ K.K. ( オリンパス光学工業㈱ )(JAPAN)

OLYMPUS OPTICAL CO., LTD.

TAKACHIHO KŌGAKU KŌGYŌ K.K. ( 高千穂光学工業㈱ )

MINIATURE BINOCULAR BRANDS (believed owned) ZUIHO BINOCULARS,

FULL SIZED BINOCULARS BRANDS (owned) OLYMPUS BINOCULARS

PRIMARY SOURCES OF INFORMATION: WIKIPEDIA, OLYMPUS CO WEBSITE

  K.K. Takachiho Seisakusho ( ㈱高千穂製作所 ) or in English Takachiho Works Co., Ltd. was founded in 1919 to produce microscopes and thermometers, which like most medical instruments had previously been imported from Germany. The “Olympus” trade of brand name was used in 1920 and registered in 1921. The company name became Takachiho Kōgaku Kōgyō K.K. ( 高千穂光学工業㈱ , or in English Takachiho Optical Industries Co., Ltd. in 1942. Then in 1949 the company became Olympus Kōgaku Kōgyō K.K. ( オリンパス光学工業㈱ ) literally in English Olympus Optical Industrial Co., Ltd., but with the official English name being Olympus Optical Co., Ltd. According to the Olympus Co website the company used an “ OIC ” marking in logos, where " OIC " stands for O ptical I ndustrial C ompany (as above right). The company used the Zuiho brand on cameras starting in 1936, on tape recorders in the 1960’s, on optical lenses and cameras in the 1970’s and 1980’s, and used the Zuiho brand on binoculars. The OIC marking is often found on Zuiho binoculars including miniature Zuiho binoculars. Olympus holds current trademarks for OLYMPUS for binoculars in a number of countries.

BENOIST BERTHIOT IBERICA, S.A. ( SPAIN)

MINIATURE BINOCULAR BRANDS (believed owned) BBI FABILA BINOCULARS,

PRIMARY SOURCES OF INFORMATION: BBI WEBSITE

Founded in 1960, Benoist Berthiot Iberica, S.A. is an importer and distributor of a wide variety of optical and specialty goods, including binoculars, rangefinders, telescopes, microscopes, pedometers, altimeters, thermometers, etc. While their current offering of binoculars includes brands such as Vortex, Optolyth, and Carton they have in the past distributed binoculars under their own BBI logo and still offer a few and it is believed that BBI FABILA brand miniature pattern binoculars was their product.  

SPAIN

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DENKAR INDUSTRIES CO. ( JAPAN)

    USA     

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MINIATURE BINOCULAR BRANDS (believed owned) DENKAR BINOCULARS,

PRIMARY SOURCES OF INFORMATION: JAPAN DIRECTORY 1975, MARCONI’S INTERNATIONAL REGISTER 1993, HONG KONG DIRECORY 1970

Established in 1954, Denkar Industries Co. of Daito Bldg., 3 Kana Neribei-cho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo, Japan, was listed as an exporter of optical goods and binoculars and believer responsible for DENKAR binoculars.

RITZ CAMERA CENTERS ( USA)

    USA     

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MINIATURE BINOCULAR BRANDS (believed owned or used) NKK BINOCULARS,

PRIMARY SOURCES OF INFORMATION: RITZ AD, WIKIPEDIA, RITZ WEBSITE

Founded in 1918 as a photo studio, Rizt expanded into film processing in 1936,and subsequently into a camera retailer and still is operational as an on line retailer.

KATSUMA OPTICAL CO LTD. (JAPAN )

KATSUMA OPTICAL MACHINERY WORKS LTD.

    USA     

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MINIATURE BINOCULAR BRANDS (believed owned) GLORY BINOCULARS,

PRIMARY SOURCES OF INFORMATION: KATSUMA OPTICAL CO WEBSITE

Established in 1946 from predecessor Tobu-cho and still operational, Katsuma Optical Co is a manufacturer and OEM manufacturer, currently located at premise Clock Tower 103-2-18-7 Minami Hadodai 2 Itabashi-ku, Tokyo. It is believed Katsuma is responsible for GLORY brand miniature binoculars.

LAFAYETTE RADIO ELECTRONICS CORP. ( USA)

MINIATURE BINOCULAR BRANDS (Canadian trademark owner) LAFAYETTE BINOCULARS; (believed used) AMCON BINOCULARS; (distributed in 1954 ) BINOLUX BINOCULARS

PRIMARY SOURCES OF INFORMATION: 1954 CONSUMER RESEARCH BULLETIN, WIKIPEDIA, US PATENT AND TRADEMARK OFFICE

Established in the 1920’s in the USA, Lafayette Radio Electronics was a catalog supplier of radio and electronic components and kits. Independently owned retailers became Lafayette radio Associate Stores to provide retail stores to compete with Radio Shack, and expanded into audio equipment and shortwave receivers and CB transceivers. The mail order and product catalog expanded to 400 pages. The stores closed in the early 1980’s. Lafayette held US trademarks for LAFAYETTE for a wide range of electronic, sporting and household goods & tools and US trademark # 73078954 for AMCON for goods & services 1976-1983, and is believed to have used LAFAYETTE and AMCON as brands on binoculars. Lafayette Radio Electronics held Canadian trademark # 0178514 for LAFAYETTE for binoculars from 11/15/1940 until expunged on 2/21/1988.

HADENROY LTD. (UK)

       UK

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MINIATURE BINOCULAR BRANDS (UK TM owned): SIMOR BINOCULARS, REGENT BINOCULARS.

PANORAMA BINOCULARS (model name),

FULL SIZE BINOCULAR BRANDS (UK TM owned): REGENTLUX BINOCULARS, REGENTMASTER BINOCULARS

PRIMARY SOURCE OF INFORMATION: UK GOV. COMPANIES HOUSE, UK DIRECTORIES, UK GOV. INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY OFFICE

UK importer Hadenroy Ltd. of 6 Bruce Grove, London N17, held UK trademark #843543 for SIMOR for binoculars from 1963-1998 and UK trademark #818159 for REGENT