Precision Optical was founded in 1959 by Chester and Ruth Berry. Chester was an early pioneer in the world of optics. He contributed to some notable projects during the 1940's and 50's, including the manufacture of large mirrors for the Palomar Observatory in San Diego County, California.
In 1959, the Berrys went into business for themselves and founded Precision Optical. They opened a small shop on the west side of Costa Mesa at 643 West 17th Street. They saw a burgeoning demand for corner cube reflectors and solid glass rangefinders. Chester developed innovative manufacturing methods, including the use of molded blanks, optical contacting, and replication coatings. These methods greatly enhanced manufacturing efficiency and quality.