Carl Zeiss opened his optics workshop in Jena in 1846. By early 1860s Zeiss was among the best scientific-instrument makers in Germany and by 1866 had sold the company's 1000th microscope. In 1872, together with physicist Ernst Abbe and chemist Otto Schott, they designed greatly improved lenses that further shaped the company’s image.
The history of ZEISS mirrors German history and all its highs and lows. Since it started as a business in 1846, it transformed into a large, research-oriented enterprise that distributes a host of optical products across the world.