On this day in 1919, Takeshi Yamashita registered the name Takachiho Seisakusho for his new business and set to work making his dream of making high-quality microscopes domestically in his native Japan come true. Never settling for simply imitating imports, he set a standard for innovation and by 1950, the company—now known as Olympus Optical Co., Ltd.—had developed the world’s first practical gastrocamera.
Olympus has remained a pioneering force in the medical, scientific, and industrial fields, but it’s their contributions to photography for which we’re most grateful. From the original PEN half-frame camera released in 1959 to their first consumer digital camera, released in ’95, Olympus has proven their commitment to using a new perspective to bring the photographic delights of the elite to the masses; from the OM-1 in 1972 to this January’s release of the OM-D E-M1X, Olympus has proven their impressive ability to take pro features and make them fit where no one thought they could. Even their forays into audio equipment have exemplified the triple threat of compactness, quality, and an unexpected approach, as 1969’s Pearlcorder handily demonstrated!
Enjoy this short film celebrating decades of optical innovation, and raise a toast with us to the next hundred years. Happy birthday, Olympus!