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Olympus Applauds Innovation With Sponsorship of New PBS Series

- "They Made America" Based on New Book by Renowned Journalist and Editor Sir Harold Evans

Melville, NY, April 26, 2004 -- Olympus, a precision technology leader in designing and delivering innovative solutions in healthcare and consumer electronics worldwide, today announced its corporate sponsorship of a new public television series, "They Made America," which profiles innovators in American history. The program explores and dramatizes the lives of unique men and women whose contributions to American enterprise - the credit report, the 24-hour news channel, the computer - have had global impact. "They Made America" is based on a new epic book titled, "They Made America - From the Steam Engine to the Search Engine: Two Centuries of Innovators," by renowned author and editor Harold Evans, to be published by Little, Brown & Company in October 2004. The series, which features on-camera commentary from Evans, will premiere on PBS in November 2004.

"I am tremendously gratified that Olympus has chosen to become the corporate sponsor of my study of innovators," said Harold Evans. "Olympus' sponsorship of 'They Made America' not only honors the men and women who have contributed to America's success, but also reflects its own legacy of technological innovation."

"We applaud the important contributions of the innovators profiled in the PBS series and book 'They Made America,'" said F. Mark Gumz, president and chief operating officer of Olympus America Inc. "Olympus is proud to celebrate the American ingenuity and innovation that has allowed our country to develop into a major industrial powerhouse in the last two centuries."

Olympus' corporate sponsorship represents its ongoing commitment to technological innovation, marked by a growing portfolio of its own technological firsts introduced over the last 85 years. Some of those innovations include:

  • The world's first gastrocamera (1950), the precursor to today's endoscope, which allowed physicians to see inside the digestive tract without operating, launching the explosive field of endoscopy and colonoscopy;
  • The world's first functional DNA analyzer (2002), a high-speed computer that greatly reduces time and research costs for gene analysis, and may enable the development of customized drugs for target populations; and
  • The world's first fully designed, professional digital SLR camera system (2003), the Olympus E-1TM, designed to be 100% digital-from-the-ground-up, therefore maximizing performance and delivering unsurpassed image quality.
Olympus is a precision technology leader, designing and delivering innovative solutions in healthcare and consumer electronics worldwide.

Olympus works collaboratively with its customers and its parent company, Tokyo-based Olympus Corporation, to leverage R&D investment in precision technology and manufacturing processes across diverse business lines. These include:

  • Gastrointestinal endoscopes, accessories, and minimally invasive surgical products;
  • Advanced clinical and research microscopes;
  • Lab automation systems, chemistry-immuno and blood bank analyzers and reagents;
  • Digital and film cameras and digital voice recorders.
In the U.S. and Canada, Olympus serves healthcare and commercial laboratory markets with integrated product solutions and financial, educational and consulting services that help customers efficiently, reliably, safely, and easily achieve superior results. Olympus is the leader in gastrointestinal endoscopy and clinical and educational microscopes. The company's market leading consumer electronics business spans North and South America.

Sir Harold Evans, author of the critically acclaimed best-seller, "The American Century," was the highly successful President and Publisher of Random House Trade Group from 1990-1997. During his tenure, Random House relaunched The Modern Library of Classics, and he edited and published a record number of best-sellers including "My American Journey" by Colin Powell and "Primary Colors" by Anonymous. From 1997-1999, Evans was Editorial Director and Vice Chairman of U.S. News & World Report, the New York Daily News, The Atlantic Monthly and Fast Company. Evans remains a contributing editor of U.S. News & World Report and has been an adviser to The Week magazine since its launch in the United States. He moderates The Week's topical panels at Grand Central Station. Evans was named to the Queen's New Year's Honors List and knighted for services to journalism.

WGBH Boston is America's preeminent public broadcasting producer, providing nearly one-third of PBS's prime-time lineup as well as many public radio favorites. WGBH-produced web sites bring in fully 25% of the traffic at pbs.org, the most-visited dot-org on the Internet. A pioneer in educational multimedia (including broadband and interactive television) and in technologies and services that make media accessible for people with disabilities, WGBH has been recognized with hundreds of honors: Emmys, Peabodys, duPont-Columbia Awards - even two Oscars. In 2002, WGBH was honored with a Peabody Award for 50 years of excellence.

Company Contact: Agency Contact:
Elizabeth Sullivan Christian Pflaumer
Olympus America Inc. Chandler Chicco Agency LLC
(631) 844-5005 (212) 229-8491
elizabeth.sullivan@olympus.com cpflaumer@ccapr.com

Since its founding in 1919, Olympus, a precision technology leader in designing and delivering innovative solutions in healthcare and consumer electronics worldwide, has led the industry in developing various innovations across its business lines. For 85 years, Olympus has been known for pioneering innovation, including Japan's first microscope and many of the world's "firsts," such as the first gastrocamera, the first microcassette recorder, the first compact 35mm single lens reflex (SLR) camera system, and the first fully designed professional digital SLR camera system, the Olympus E-1TM.

Timeline of Innovation

1919 Olympus founded, and one year later, produces ASAHI, Japan's first microscope.

Since the launch of the first model in 1920, Olympus microscopes have become vital to observation at the submicron level, and are found in the leading research laboratories, clinical centers, and educational institutions worldwide.

Today, Olympus clinical laboratory microscopes are used in the U.S. more than any other brand.

1950 Olympus develops world's first gastrocamera.

Mounted at the tip of a flexible tube, Olympus' miniature camera could record the esophagus and the stomach on film - sparking a revolution in endoscopy. The 1960s saw another Olympus breakthrough with a fiberscope that could transmit the image directly - laying the foundation for minimally invasive endoscopic treatment. Setting the stage for further innovations, Olympus miniaturization technologies, once used for observation, have become the centerpiece of minimally invasive surgery, making treatment less invasive, shorter, less costly and more effective.

Today, Olympus has greater than 70% market share in the global medical endoscope business.

1969 Olympus introduces world's first microcassette recorder.

In the late 1960s, even the regular cassette recorder was considered innovative, reducing portable tape recorders to devices about the size of shoeboxes. But in 1969, Olympus revolutionized portable recording by miniaturizing the technology and introducing the Pearlcorder. The world's first microcassette recorder, this device allowed business people, reporters, and students to preserve the sounds of important moments with a device literally small enough to fit in a jacket breast pocket.

Today, Olympus is the leading manufacturer of digital voice recorders in the U.S.

1972 Olympus releases OM SLR system and establishes itself as pioneer in development of compact SLRs.

The OlympusŪ OM-1 SLR system truly revolutionized 35 mm photography, slimming down the bulky, heavy SLRs of the day into an easy to handle, compact package that influenced future SLR design by leading manufacturers. Soon after, Olympus launched the next-generation Olympus OM-2, the world's first SLR with a through-the-lens (TTL) direct light metering system, which provided more accurate exposure measurement.

Today, the TTL system developed by Olympus is the gold standard in digital as well as film photography.

2002 Olympus develops world's first DNA computer for gene analysis.

Olympus unveiled in Japan the world's first functional computer for gene analysis, combining huge computing power and parallel processing. The result is a high-speed, fully automated process - from sample injection to reaction - to enable quantitative gene expression profiling for research and medical fields, such as genetic diagnosis and drug discovery.

In the future, Olympus' technology may enable customized drug development for target populations, rather than today's mass-demand approach.

2003 Olympus introduces Olympus E-1, world's first fully designed professional digital SLR camera system.

At a time in the digital camera revolution when other leading camera manufacturers were cobbling together digital camera systems from existing film camera components, Olympus created and launched the world's first professional digital SLR camera system designed to be 100% digital from-the-ground-up -- maximizing performance and delivering unsurpassed image quality.

Today, Olympus continues to set new standards in digital photography.