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This article is going to be different from the previous ones. The reason is that I am going to discuss the history of old Selsi binoculars that had phenomenal times in the past. But they are no longer available for sale due to bankruptcy.
Recently, I went to a repair shop to get my binoculars repaired. I saw Selsi binoculars that were in very bad shape. It gave me a kind of interest and motivation to do research and share the fascinating history of the old, Selsi binoculars.
I am up for it – I have done my research and typing my fingers hard to provide you with complete information about this optics brand. So, Hold tight, and let’s get started!
Related: Binolux Binoculars History
History of Selsi Optics
Selsi Optics is known from 1929, but the story starts from the Sussfeld Lorsch Company was founded back in 1854. This company was mainly used to import optical products from Europe and was not very well known. But over the period of time, the owner of this company started giving his best efforts to make the company prominent.
The owner planned to do a rebranding, and he changed the name from Sussfeld Lorsch to Sussfeld, Lorsch, and Schimmel. However, only changing the name was not good enough to grow the business. But later in 1929, the owner decided to transform the whole business into a manufacturing company instead of an importing company.
At that time, the company was renamed Selsi Company, Inc. There were actually two partners who used to own this business. The new name ‘‘Selsi’’ was also taken by combining the founding partners’ initials with two vowels. This was the time when the company started making headlines because they started to focus on manufacturing quality products including binoculars.
Journey of Selsi Optics Company
In the section below, I have given the introduction and origin of the Selsi Optics company. But now is the time to go into the details, and explore the journey. The company saw its prime and success and then decline started. So, let’s go.
1- Initial Phase
Initially, the customer did not pay any attention to this brand as there were many other well-established optics brands that were making decent products. However, the company focused on quality. The offering of pure quality in the products brought some positive results, as the Sesli binoculars started getting attention, and exposure.
Soon after a few years, the Selsi binoculars became very famous. In fact, this optics brand started making loyal customers. For any brand, this moment is pure pride when the customers start giving you respect and showing loyalty. The Selsi earned it through dedication and consistent quality.
Seeing the success of their binoculars, the owner of the Selsi Brand decided to expand the business. The company launched spotting scopes, and many other optical tools which became famous due to the trust, and credibility that Selsi had earned through dedication, and keeping the customers at the first position.
2- Innovation, and Technology
This was the time when the optics brands were trying to go ahead of the competition. Being advanced in terms of technology, and embarrassing the innovation was the only way to survive. The good thing is that the Selsi brand realized this very early, and started doing research about how they can produce better and introduce new features in their binos.
At that time, almost all the brands were producing bigger-sized and bulky binoculars. In 1950, the Selsi was the first brand that used porro prism and started producing lightweight, and compact binoculars. This innovation was very appreciated by the customers as carrying the bigger-sized binoculars was trouble.
The introduction of porro prism in the binoculars uplifted the standard of Selsi Optics. The customers’ trust made this company more popular. The commitment to innovation was something that helped the company. Not only their binoculars but spotting scopes and other optical tools were also getting attention in the optics market.
The success of Porro prism binoculars uplifted the revenue and profit of this brand which further helped the company to invest more in the research and increase the quality of their binoculars. It won’t be wrong to say that in the 1960s, the company saw its prime due to its commitment to quality, and innovation.
3- World War II
The story would be incomplete if I didn’t mention the times of World War II and how this company survived. Almost all the optics brands, even those that were well-established, suffered due to World War II.
At that time, Germany was the hub for producing optics such as binoculars. However due to the war, many optics brands from Germany underwent a tough phase. Many brands went bankrupt. The war had a severe damaging impact on the performance of those brands.
But Selsi being a US brand grew at this time. The US military ordered binoculars from the Selsi Optics which help this brand make money, and then invest it into the research process. The bulk order booked by the US army gave a massive boost.
During the war phase, this brand stopped producing binoculars for civilians, instead, they focused on producing binoculars and other optical tools for the US Army which was obviously an opportunity for this brand.
After the world war, the company had enough investment, which they put into the research, and ended up producing binoculars with porro prism which I have mentioned earlier. The role of World War II can never be overlooked when it comes to the journey and success of Selsi Optics.
Also Read: How to Clean Binoculars?
Downfall of Selsi Optics Brand
As I mentioned in the initial part of this article, I saw Selsi binoculars and it was made many decades ago. But the build quality was impressive and I did not notice any sort of damage on the body or exterior part of the binoculars.
So, the question comes to mind: why did the company see its decline when it was offering such quality in its product? I did extensive research and found that providing the highest quality was the actual mistake that they made.
Should I say it was a mistake or not? As a brand, providing quality to customers is always a good thing that every company has to achieve. But it did hurt the Selsi Optics. This company used to invest heavily in the research so that they could provide the highest quality binoculars.
So, due to research, labor costs, etc, their binoculars were very expensive. But in the 1970s, Japanese brands came into the US market where the Selsi binoculars were being sold and customers were paying happily. The Japanese brands started selling their binos at lower prices.
You might think: how were Japanese manufacturers able to sell their products at lower prices to get a price advantage? Actually, the labor cost in Japan was very low at that time. In fact, even today, the labor cost in Japan is way less than the labor cost in the USA.
Those Japanese brands used to manufacture their binoculars in Japan at lower prices, and then sell those binoculars in the US market at very low prices. So, the customers started buying Japanese binoculars at a lower price and the Selsi started losing its customers’ hold.
Soon after a few years, the company saw a massive decline in its revenue and profit. They could not reduce the price significantly to tackle the competition of Japanese manufacturers.
Can I get Selsi Binoculars Now?
No, You can’t! Selsi Brand went bankrupt, and they don’t produce or manufacture any Selsi binoculars. So, you cannot get new Selsi binoculars. However, you may get old binoculars at the exhibition centers.
Selsi binoculars can be seen in the exhibitions as the memory of the past. They are no longer produced or manufactured. Some hobbyists collect old items, so you could ask them and perhaps find one. However, it may not work anymore. But that won’t be in working conditions.
I personally don’t recommend you spend money and buy binoculars which were made decades ago and the company is also not working. Instead, you should look to buy new binoculars from a reputable optics brand and enjoy an excellent viewing experience with peace of mind.
There is no doubt that Selsi Optics was an excellent brand that focused on providing quality to the users. Their binoculars can now be seen in the exhibitions as a memory of the past, but they can no longer be purchased as they are not manufactured anymore.
I wrote this detailed article to share the story of this brand. How did you feel after reading the history of Selsi binoculars? I would definitely love to hear from you guys. Go down, and share your opinion in the comment section.
I’m a passionate outdoor activist who has got special love for optics. The school studies in optical mechanics and the travelling experience has made me an expert in optics like binoculars, scopes, and other devices. Stay connected with us for in-depth knowledge!