Zeiss was founded as a business in 1846 and has since then been transformed into a large, research-oriented enterprise that distributes a host of optical products across the world.
In 1846 Carl Zeiss opened a workshop for precision mechanics and optical instruments in Jena. Soon he was supplying not only the regional market but also shipping his wares around the world. In 1847, Carl trained his first employees, one of which later became a trainer himself.
After the passing of Carl Zeiss in 1889, Ernst Abbe created the Carl Zeiss Foundation, which would become the company’s sole owner. Its profits benefitted science, social and cultural projects, and the workforce, too.
Since the 1890s, Abbe’s findings and his style of working have also been adopted in other fields of optics. This led to the creation of all-new products, new business areas and rapid growth for the company.
World War I and II as well as the global financial crisis brought about many years of ups and downs for the company and just like Germany the company was split in two in the aftermath of World War II. Thereafter, the sites outside Germany have been developing in a stable manner and ZEISS is now a globally operating company. After German reunification, the companies merged once more and suffered a real crisis, and the company as we know it today emerged from these ashes.
After lengthy negotiations, the Carl Zeiss Foundation reform was put into force in 2004. Carl Zeiss was converted inti a stock company owned entirely by its Foundation. Today, Carl Zeiss AG is a holding company with several subsidiaries. Zeiss now is an internationally leading technology enterprise operating in the fields of optics and optoelectronics. It now produces products such as eyeglass lenses, camera lenses, binoculars and rifle scope optics.