Nikon has a strong history in optics having been the leader in binocular and specialized military lenses since their inception in 1917 as the Nippon Kogaku K.K. company. In the early 1920s, they infused their company with German technology bringing on board eight German technicians in 1921 giving them the expertise that would eventually lead them into the popular and profitable photography market.

In 1932, they moved more of their focus into the photography sector and began to increase the production of their NIKKOR lenses by revamping their manufacturing plant for the third time in their short history. In the 1940s we began to see the emergence of the Nikon camera bodies with the revealing of the "Nikon I" in late 1946. In 1950, the New York Times (author Jacob Deschin) helped to push Nikon cameras and Nikkor lenses with reported superior quality lenses over the then popular German lenses. The article also praised the Nikon cameras use in Life magazine, increasing sales in the United States. This article is said to have been the cause for the need to open a U.S. Division, Nikon Optical Company, in 1953 launching a bevy of new camera bodies throughout the 1950s, 60s, and 70s along with rapid International expansion.

From the 1980s through today, we have seen further expansion internationally and dramatic adoption of Nikon as the true leader in optics, especially photography optics. The Nikon Photography Product Line has been well expanded to include video and digital solutions starting in 1961 with 8mm video and more recently in 1995 with the Nikon E2 Digital Still camera.

Company Timeline:

1917 - Creation of Nippon Kogaku K.K.
1917 - Purchase of Fujii Lens Seisakusho.
1953 - Creation of U.S. Nikon Optical Co.
1961 - Creation of Switzerland's Nikon AG.
1963 - Purchase of Sakura Electronic Indistries, Ltd.
1968 - K.K. Tachibana Seisakusho established.
1968 - Netherlands based Nikon Europe N.V established.
1970 - The famous Nikon House established in New York.
1971 - Sendai Nikon Corporation created.
1971 - Germany's (West) Nikon Vertriebs GmbH created.
1973 - Nikon Optical Shop Company, Ltd established.
1974 - Aiko Lens K.K. was established.
1976 - The start of "Nikon Live" with the opening of the Nikon Live Galerie in Zurich.
1978 - Nikon Engineering Company, Ltd. created.
1978 - Division in Canada established (Nikon Canada, Ltd. - possibly Nikon Canada, Inc. - Conflicting resources).
1979 - Nikon U.K. Ltd established in the U.K. (not sure of the location).
1981 - Creation of Nikon Inc. in the U.S. (possibly engulfed Nikon Optical Company).
1982 - Nikon Precision Inc. established in the U.S.
1986 - Nikon Hong Kong Ltd. created.
1986 - Nikon France S.A. opened.
1987 - Nikon Sales Promotion Company, Ltd. established.
1988 - Changed the Corporate name to Nikon Corporation.
1988 - Established Nikon Optical Canada Inc.
1990 - Opened Nikon Thailand Company, Ltd.
1991 - Kinon Kft. of Hungary created.
1993 - Continuation of "Nikon Life" by establishment of Nikon Life Company, Ltd.
1993 - Nikon Instruments S.p.A of Italy established.
1995 - Nikon Precision Taiwan Ltd. established.
1995 - Nikon Singapore Pte Ltd established.
1995 - Nikon division in Sweden started (Nikon Svenska or Nikon Svenska AB).
1996 - Nikon Research Corporation of America established.
1996 - Beijing Nikon Ophthalmic Products Co., Ltd. established.
1997 - China based Guang Dong Nikon Camera Co., Ltd. established.
1998 - Nikon Optical U.K. Ltd. established.
1999 - Nanjing Nikon Jiangnan Optical Instrument Co., Ltd. and Hang Zhou Nikon Camera Co., Ltd. established in China.
2000 - Nikon Eyewear Company, Ltd. established (possibly engulfed Nikon Optical Company).
2000 - Nikon Precision Singapore Pte Ltd. established.
2000 - Nikon Instruments Inc. U.S. division created.
2000 - Nikon Eyewear, Inc. established in the U.S.
2000 - Nikon Holdings Europe B.V. opened in the Netherlands.
2001 - Nikon Vision Co., Ltd. established to continue binocular and telescope operations (may not be under corporate umbrella).
2001 - Nikon (Malaysia) Sdn. started operations.
2002 - Nikon Instruments Europe, B.V. opened its doors in the Netherlands.
2003 - Nikon Instruments Co., Ltd created in China.
2004 - Hikari Glass Co., Ltd. purchased by Nikon.
2005 - Nikon Instruments Korea Co., Ltd. created.
2005 - Nikon Imaging Sales Co., Ltd. established in China.
2006 - Nikon Imaging Korea Co., Ltd. created.
2006 - Nikon Australia Pty. Ltd. established in Australia.

Note: Nikon & Canon are both seperate companies and are not held (even in majority shareholder interest) by a common parent company. Both companies are publicly traded.

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