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If one seeks to find a company that has grown to represent the ideal of a customer service oriented mail order and catalog sales telescope store, then it will be "Orion" that comes to the forefront.
The Optronics subsidiary "Orion" was conceived to market consumer telescopes. Their approach was to offer good quality telescopes targeting the beginner and intermediate amateur astronomer market. The marketing strategy was unprecedented in this hobby: 1. produce a beautifully illustrated catalog with wide distribution, 2. explain what is being sold in terms amateurs can relate to, 3. offer products at prices that are competitive - not always the cheapest, but then Orion has always provided service and catalogs that merit what slight difference in cost charged, 4. buy full page advertisements in popular astronomy magazines produced with a consistently professional appearance, 5. maintain a warehouse to assure prompt delivery of items ordered, and 6. offer liberal customer service policies. To this day, nobody does this any better.
Orion offered many popular consumer lines including TeleVue, Meade Instruments, and Celestron. But in time some of the manufacturers who Orion relied upon became less vital to the Orion plan. Some were so concerned about marketing concepts that they modified they product line offerings - "new and improved" often meant "cheaper and with less accessories". In one instance, Celestron who used to distribute the Japanese made "Vixen" products dropped the entire line in favor of less capable products which could be sold at lower prices. Vixen featured well made achromatic and fluorite apochromatic telescopes (most notably the highly regarded Vixen 102 Fluorite Apochromat, some Newtonian models, and interesting accessories. Orion began to realize that for its success it should rely less on companies run by people who probably knew less than Tim. And so Orion gradually picked up products and sometimes marketed these under the "Orion" trademark, or designed and commissioned items to be made for sale under their trademark. In some areas Orion felt their products were so adequate that they no longer needed to offer products made by previous suppliers - who were now in effect Orions competitors.
Right: Orion SkyQuest XT10 IntelliScope telescope. Note the IntelliScope Control shown here is optional (51,107 Bytes). Click on image to see enlarged view (85,940 bytes)
Today Orion's range of accessories include items such as their well reviewed Sky Pollution Rejection Filters, Eyepieces, their unique Polyester/Nylon padded telescope soft cases, Lights Out observing hood, and much more. Orion developed telescopes including the original SkyQuest series Dobsonian Reflectors XT-6, XT-8, and XT10. And by 2003 these evolved into the highly innovative and fun to use SkyQuest XT-6 IntelliScope, XT-8 IntelliScope, and XT-10 IntelliScope. For 2004 Orion scaled up the XT10 into a serious yet handy light bucket - the XT-12 IntelliScope. Each of these telescopes have been rated the best in their respective class by publications, and more importantly by the amateur community and Company Seven!
Demanding amateurs choose Orion, the most demanding buy their Orion telescope at Company Seven
Above: a part of our Orion products display. This awaits those who make the pilgrimage to Company Seven's Laurel, MD showroom.
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