Leupold Binoculars at IWA Hunting Show Germany

Leupold Sport Optics at the IWA show in Germany.

Leupold makes some of the world's finest Leupold binoculars and Leupold rifle scopes.

Here are some close-ups of the mounted animals probably taken with the help of Leupold optics.

Here are some Leupold sports otpics filters

The History Of Leupold:
A German machinist transplanted his vision to Oregon.
Like so many firms that we now think of as decidedly American, this company has roots in Europe. Markus Friederich "Fred" Leupold was born in Germany in 1875. At the age of 16, he immigrated to America, where he eventually worked for a Boston engineering firm as a precision machinist.

An idealistic man with considerable skill, Fred Leupold moved to Oregon in 1907. There, he set up a one-man operation at 5th and Oak in Portland for the repair of surveying equipment. Fred received early financial backing from his brother-in-law, Adam Voelpel. The firm was named Leupold & Voelpel.

In 1911, Leupold & Voelpel moved to a building adjacent to the Leupold residence on NE 70th Avenue in Portland. Having successfully established their credentials among surveyors, the brothers-in-law eventually began manufacturing surveying equipment. Competition from bigger and better-financed companies forced Leupold & Voelpel to investigate other markets for their considerable skills.

J.C. Stevens, the prolific inventor.
Fred Leupold and Adam Voelpel met John Cyprian Stevens shortly after the move to NE 70th Avenue. An inventor by nature and a consulting engineer and hydrologist by training, Stevens had patented a device to record the flow of water that dramatically outperformed competitive devices of the day. Anti-German sentiment of pre-World War I America led Voelpel to change his name. In 1914, the company was renamed Leupold, Volpel & Co. including J.C. Stevens as the third partner. Fred Leupold's eldest son Marcus joined the firm at the same time.

The business grew slowly during WWI, but picked up in the 1920's. Water recorders and surveying products made in Portland by Leupold, Volpel & Co. found their way to customers throughout the world. Production increased by 100%. In 1939, J. C. Stevens' son Robert joined the company.

The Great Depression meant hard times for many American companies. But Leupold, Volpel & Co. managed to survive those difficult years. In fact, rather than laying workers off, the staff grew to 40 full time employees. Part of the firm's ability to flourish during such an economically disastrous time must be attributed to yet another J.C. Stevens invention: The Telemark, a water level recorder that transmitted data over telephone lines. The Telemark was a major success, and the firm outgrew its space within four short years of its introduction.

In 1942, two major changes occurred at Leupold, Volpel & Co. First, the company moved to new facilities at 45th and Glisan in northeast Portland. And second, because of Adam Volpel's death in 1940, the company changed its name to Leupold & Stevens Instruments Company.

Military contracts brought major changes.
As industrial America geared up to meet the manufacturing needs of World War II, the very nature of Leupold & Stevens changed. Rather than emphasizing the manufacture of surveying and water recording instruments, the firm became a military contractor. The company successfully developed disciplines and proficiencies necessary to meet the strict specifications required by the armed services.

The manufacture of sextants and peloruses (navigational devices that take bearings based on observed objects) for the U.S. Navy and the U.S. Merchant Marine became a major part of the company's work, so did the repair of Merchant Marine machine gun sights.

But the development of a rifle scope for the U.S. Army was perhaps the best indicator of what the future held for Leupold & Stevens.

This wartime evolution coincided with other key events in the firm's history. Sadly, the firm's founder and namesake, Fred Leupold died in 1944. Norbert Leupold, Fred's son, joined the firm that same year. The management responsibility was passed on to the younger generation consisting of Fred Leupold's sons Marcus and Norbert and J.C. Stevens' son Robert.

The first Leupold scope made for hunting.
Though the plant was very busy during the war, there was just enough time for Marcus Leupold to lead a team of Leupold & Stevens engineers in the development of a new kind of rifle scope for hunting.

There was plenty of interest in this effort, partially because Marcus, Norbert and Robert were all avid outdoorsmen. But one incident provided Marcus with special motivation:

Marcus was hunting on the rainy west side of Oregon's Cascade Range. A nice Blacktail buck presented itself, and Marcus fired. Unfortunately, he missed because his scope had become fogged with interior moisture and his view was obscured. There was also a lack of accuracy in the field adjustments leaving him little confidence in his optical sight.

Remembering the frustration of that experience, Marcus set out to build a better scope. He was certain that the firm's expertise in the design, manufacture and quality control of sophisticated optics for surveying equipment would be an advantage in his quest to engineer a new generation of rifle scopes that were less likely to draw moisture, and more easily adjusted for accuracy. Happily, Marcus was right.

The best byproduct of Leupold & Stevens' World War II effort was that company engineers - the ones who repaired telescopic gun sights for the U.S. Merchant Marine - learned a lot about waterproofing optical instruments. They learned a very important fact: If you replace the oxygen inside a telescopic sight with pure, bone-dry nitrogen, you all but eliminate the chance for fogging.

The result of the leadership on the rifle scope project was the first Leupold rifle scope made available to America's hunters. The year was 1947, and the scope was called the Plainsman. The most water-resistant scope of its era, the Plainsman featured internal adjustments and a permanently sealed maintube. The Plainsman became very popular among hunters and shooters who had experienced frustration with poorly sealed scopes.

The emerging scope business altered the course of the company.
The continued success of Stevens water recorders and the emerging success of Leupold rifle scopes allowed the company to incorporate in 1949. This move gave the firm increased financial flexibility for even greater growth. At the same time, Leupold & Stevens gained the leadership and vision of its newly-named president, Marcus Leupold.

Ever watchful for the best business opportunities, Marcus realized in the early 1950's that considerable potential rested with its emerging rifle scope business. This natural evolution was hastened in 1953 when J.C. Stevens' health declined. Nonetheless, J.C.'s vision and inventions (he held 17 patents) continued to be a major part of the company's prosperity.

By 1960, just 13 years after the introduction of the Plainsman, Leupold scopes were fast becoming one of the premiere scopes on the market. The resultant growth prompted a move in 1968 to Leupold & Stevens' present location in Beaverton, just outside Portland. The staff of about 150 set up shop in a new 66,000 square foot plant designed to accommodate 20 years of growth. Within a few years it was necessary to add considerably more space. So began a repeating cycle of business growth and physical expansion that continues to the present.

Much of the company's success is tied to evolving manufacturing technologies. At every opportunity, Leupold & Stevens has acquired the latest and best equipment for particular manufacturing tasks. Equally important, the company's research & development activity has successfully developed new products that live up to the company's high standards for quality and customer satisfaction. This quest for quality has resulted in ISO 9001 Certification, an international standard for quality assurance.

After many decades of growth, this family-owned firm is stronger and more financially sound than ever. More than 600 people are employed at our 150,000 sq. ft. plant. And demand for our product lines has consistently grown at a dramatic rate. Now, Leupold & Stevens is a dominating market leader with worldwide distribution.

Our Goals are Possible Because our Values are Sound.
The mission of Leupold & Stevens is to continually improve products, to develop flexible manufacturing capabilities, and to put special emphasis on customer service. The ultimate goal is prosperity and a reasonable return for our stockholders.

We are committed to and proud of the goals and responsibilities of our Affirmative Action program and our company's Equal Employment Opportunity program.

Our people are the source of our strength. They provide our diversity, they enhance our corporate philosophy, and they determine our reputation and vitality. Improvement and teamwork are our core human values. We encourage employees to pursue continuing education, we provide ongoing in-house training, and we foster a work environment that encourages communication. The conduct of our company - globally and locally - must be pursued in a manner that is socially responsible, with the highest ethical standards, and with all due regard for the environment. Leupold & Stevens, Inc. proudly supports the economies of the local community, the Pacific Northwest, and the nation.

Ask The Experts

Have questions about an item or need advice on selecting the right optic? Our team of experts is here to help! Avid outdoor enthusiasts themselves, they've tested gear in the field and can provide personalized product recommendations for just about any activity, from birding and hunting to sports and travel.

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