You might even say it is in the company's genes. The history of the high-tech group of companies started back in 1846 with a trial and error approach to optical production. This method was enhanced by Ernst Abbe, a business partner of the company founder, into a systematic, scientific technique.This marked the beginning of more than 160 years of ongoing innovation at the company's founding site in Jena, Group headquarters in Oberkochen and at many other development and production locations all over the world.
As a young scientist, Abbe dedicated his knowledge to Carl Zeiss. He joined Carl Zeiss as a scientific employee in 1866.Abbe became a professor at the University of Jena in 1870.
His theory of image formation in microscopes made him the founder of scientific optics and gave Carl Zeiss a decisive technological advantage: while microscopes were previously built on the basis of experience, beginning in 1872 they were founded on scientific calculations and therefore achieved considerably better optical properties.
In turn, this opened the door to pioneering research in biology and medicine, e.g. the work of Robert Koch and Paul Ehrlich.
Since its founding, the company has been setting milestones in many areas of optical technology:
Paul Rudolph invents the first anastigmatic,distortion-free camera lens.
Prism binoculars with expanded lens gap generate a more three-dimensional image with improved depth perception.
Large ophthalmoscope for reflection-free observation of the fundus and the Gullstrand slit lamp.
First prototype of a phase contrast microscope based on Zernike‘s original design.
First light-surgical instrument as the predecessor to laser eye surgery.
First fully digitized scanning electron microscope.
First individually calculated progressive lenses.