Olympus Corporation is a Japan-based company which is known for its optics and imaging products. Established on October 12, 1919, Olympus was initially specialized in microscope and thermometer businesses. It is having its headquarter in Tokyo, Japan, while in United States, its operations are located in Center Valley, Pennsylvania, and European undertakings are located in Hamburg, Germany.
The company is named after Mount Olympus, which is the home of the 12 supreme gods and goddesses according to Greek mythology. The reason for this name as given by the company is to “reflect its strong aspiration to create high quality, world famous products”.
According to Japanese mythology, eight million gods and goddesses are believed to live in Takamagahara, the peak of Mt.Takachiho. (Takachiho is the name of the predecessor of Olympus Corporation.) Keeping in the tradition of naming the company after the abode of Gods and Goddess, The Company selected the name “Olympus” as the trademark because Mt.Olympus, like Mt.Takachiho, was the home of gods and goddesses. This trademark is not only the abode of Gods but also reflects what Olympus says is their aspiration to illuminate the world with its optical devices, just like Takamagahara brought light to the world.
The company changed quite a few times in the course of its journey. Takachiho Seisakusho had altered itself to Takachiho Optical Co., Ltd. in 1942 when it became clear that optical products are the mainstay of the company. In 1949, in an attempt to enhance its corporate image and appeal to the global audience, the name was changed to Olympus Optical Co. Ltd. As the company continued to grow and expand, it was given a new name in 2003. The name was changed to Olympus Corporation, to unify the corporate name and the well-known brand.
As already mentioned the company had its share of name changes in its eventful journey. “Olympus” has dwelt on the insignia of the corporation since the period of Takachiho Seisakusho, the forefather of Olympus Corporation.
As the name changed so did the logos of the company underwent changes. The company consists of 5 different logos.
To start with, the first Logo was created in 1919. The first corporate logo unexpectedly not “Olympus” but it was “TOKIWA”. Derived from Tokiwa Shokai, the company that the founder, Takeshi Yamashita, had worked for, “Tokiwa” became its first logo. Tokiwa Shokai also held an equity stake in Takachiho Seisakusho and was entrusted with the task of marketing Takachiho products. The logo peruses “TOKIWA TOKYO.” The “G” and “M” signs above are conceived to be endorses of, Goro Matsukata, the head of state of Tokiwa Shokai.
Logo created in 1921. The Olympus brand was formally introduced in February 1921. This logo was primarily used for microscopes and other such products. Not only microscopes, but brochures and newspaper ads for cameras also sported this logo. The “OLYMPUS TOKYO” trademark is the most popular known.
In 1921, the second logo was created. There was also a time when OIC was used instead of TOKYO in the logo. OIC is the full form for Optical Industrial Company. It was an interpretation of Olympus’ Japanese shared name at that period. The logo created was used for GT-I and GT-II endoscopes.
Logo created in 1970. This logo, used from 1970 to 2000, was designed so as to demonstrate the quality and sophistication of the company’s products.
Logo created in 2001. With the changing time the logo was changed and the new logo reflected the current technology. The yellow line underneath the logo represented light and boundless possibilities of digital technology. The yellow line was called “Opto-Digital Pattern”. It was a symbol representing the dynamic and innovative nature of Opto-Digital Technology and Olympus Corporation. This logo represents the brand name and is known as the Communication Symbol of Olympus.
Olympus has always been known for its camera and lens design. Olympus introduced its first camera, the Semi-Olympus, I in the year 1936 and since then it has never turned back. The company employed the philosophy of kaizen effectively, and it has been giving better and improved product year after year since then. In 1959 the first truly innovative camera series from Olympus, the PEN models were launched. .The features include half-frame format, allowing 72 pictures of 18 × 24 mm format on a standard 36 exposure roll of film. All this features made PEN cameras compact and portable for their time.
Olympus OM Lenses
The PEN system design team, led by Yoshihisa Maitani, can be credited for creating the OM system, a full frame professional 35 mm SLR system designed to compete with Nikon and Canon’s bestsellers. The OM system preceded the small is the powerful slogan and introduced a new trend towards more compact cameras and lenses, being much smaller than its competitors and presenting innovative design features such as through-the-lens flash automation. Even this small system included 14 different bodies and approximately 60 Zuiko-branded lenses.
Olympus Quick Flash camera
However, Olympus did not move into the autofocus market and could not capitalize on the gains it made earlier, ultimately leading to their decline as a maker of professional film camera systems as its competitors dominated the market.
With the emerging trends and the current scope of digital technology, the company is making foray in the digital market. The firm is a leading producer of digital cameras. It has a large variety of compact digital cameras. Olympus is the designer of the Four-Thirds System standard for digital single-lens reflex camera design and development, and it uses the same frame size as the PEN cameras.
In 1983, Olympus, in collaboration with Canon, branded a range of video recording equipment manufactured by JVC, and it was named “Olympus Video Photography”, even employing renowned photographer Terance Donovan to promote the range. A second version of the system was available the year after, but this marked the Olympus’ last foray into the world of consumer video equipment until digital cameras became popular.
Olympus is also the inventor of the Microcassette. The Olympus Pearlcorder L400, released in the 1980s, was the smallest and lightest Microcassette Voice recorder ever offered for sale.