Meade is well known within the amateur astronomy community as a manufacturer of fine astronomical instruments. They are most famously known for their LX200 and ETX series telescopes.

Meade was founded in 1972 with an initial capital of US $2500 as a mail-order supplier of refracting telescopes. It has since grown to be the largest supplier of "serious" telescopes to amateur astronomers around the world. It became a publicly traded company 1997, and is traded on NASDAQ as MEAD.