Stephen Kufeld the Inventor of the Telrad Reflex Sight

Stephen Kufeld with the Telrad Reflex Sight 

In the late 1970’s vintage bombsights and a love for astronomy combined to inspire Stephen Kufeld to design an innovative new “finder scope”.  Based on reflex technology the Telrad Reflex Sight is not only the original it is also the standard of its kind.

The Telrad Reflex Sight Prototype

Steve built his prototype “Telrad” (for "telescope reflex aiming device") and it soon became a popular novelty at star parties sponsored by the Los Angeles Astronomical Society. All of his fellow astronomers, curious to see what was up, wanted to look through the oddly shaped gadget.  They were surprised to find three glowing red rings “projected” onto the night sky -- the entire unmagnified right side up night sky.  In addition, the rings were graduated at 1/2°, 2° and 4° intervals greatly aiding star hopping activities.

The interest exhibited by his fellow astronomers encouraged Steve to consider the possibility of developing and marketing his new sight.  The original Telrad Reflex Sights were made from urethane resin cast in molds that he built himself.  Before long the demand surpassed his production capabilities so he had a plastic injection mold made and the current configuration was born.

Some of the advantages of the Telrad Reflex Sight over traditional finder scopes are:

  • Correct "real sky" view
  • No magnification
  • Illuminated & graduated reticle image
  • Extended eye relief

After a brief illness Brent Stephen Kufeld passed away on June 30, 1997 at 57 years of age.

The Cummings family eventually took over the company and now operates Telrad Inc. The wife of Mr. Wes Cummings of Telrad Inc. who supplied this article, worked for Stephen Kufeld as an assembler towards the end of this life.  

The Telrad today is faithful to the original production model as created by Kufeld in every detail, and is available from