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The company was founded on October 12, 1919 under the name K.K. Takachiho Seisakusho (meaning Takachiho Works Co., Ltd.) by Yamashita Takeshi. The address was Toyotama-gun Yoyohata-ch? Hatagaya in Tokyo. The founder was previously employed by Tokiwa Sh?kai, which provided the financial support for the new company. The chief engineer was Terada Shintar, who previously worked for M & Katera K?gaku Kikai Seisakusho, and the first products of Takachiho Seisakusho were microscopes and thermometers. At that time, Japan imported all its microscopes (and other instruments), mainly from Germany. The company had the clear ambition to rival, and even surpass, these high precision foreign imports. Olympus has been renowned to this day for its research on medical equipment.
The first microscope was released in early 1920, and was sold by Tokiwa Sh?kai under its own Tokiwa brand. The trade name Olympus was applied for on the same year 1920 and granted in early 1921. The Olympus Tokyo logo was applied for in mid-1931 and registered a little later. The company supplied microscopes to the Japanese Navy and became a 'Navy approved factory' (, kaigun shitei k?j?) in late 1933. It offered an apparatus to take pictures with a microscope, consisting of a prism, a basic shutter and a darkbox taking a ground glass or 56x93mm glass plates.... from Camerapedia.org