- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 29, 2005

LAGUNA BEACH, Calif. (AP) — David Bushnell, an entrepreneur who transformed Bushnell Optical Corp. from a small mail-order business into the country’s leading binocular brand, died March 24 at his Laguna Beach home of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. He was 91.

An avid traveler, Mr. Bushnell bought his first two cases of binoculars in 1947 during an around-the-world honeymoon. He later tried to unload the binoculars — then considered exotic equipment — by taking out print ads targeted at racetrack spectators.

“He visualized everyone in the stands having a pair of binoculars. People wanted to buy them, so he kept the business open and he eventually started doing research and development,” his wife, Nancy Bushnell, said.

Mr. Bushnell eventually expanded the business beyond binoculars to rifle scopes, spotting scopes and other optical equipment.

Mr. Bushnell’s company was purchased by Bausch & Lomb in 1972 and later by Wind Point Partners of Chicago in 1999.

The company is now based in Overland Park, Kan., and has about 56 percent of the U.S. binocular market, according to company representatives.

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