Geschichte der Standorte




Carl Zeiss was founded in Jena in 1846. Shortly thereafter, a large number of the company's products were sold abroad. Distribution was originally the responsibility of business associates and representatives. In 1893, the first representative outside Germany opened in London. The first production site outside Jena opened in Vienna in 1906.

The two World Wars resulted in massive set backs to the company's internationalization endeavors: Almost all of the sales companies in other countries had to be founded anew. What is more, there was international competition starting in 1950: The branches of Carl Zeiss Oberkochen and VEB Carl Zeiss Jena competed head-to-head.

It was not until the reunification that this situation was resolved. Since the 1990s, rapidly growing subsidiaries have been opening up their own sales subsidiaries in other countries. Production sites outside Germany have become more and more important in the new millennium. Today, certain products are produced entirely outside Germany.

History of ZEISS in Göttingen

How it all started

First mentioned in 953, Göttingen was elevated to town status around 1150. Georg August University – named after its founder King George II from Great Britain – opened in the city in 1734. Göttingen is where Rudolf Winkel began his independent precision mechanical work in 1857 for the company Breithaupt in Kassel and for the University of Göttingen in rented rooms. 1857 also marks the beginnings of Carl Zeiss in Göttingen, which is inextricably linked with the history of the Winkel family.

The workshop prospered, requiring expansion of the factory shortly thereafter: By the end of the 19th century, the workshop had moved to the Düstere Eichenweg and Winkel’s oldest son Carl took over the mechanical workshop. In 1907, he implemented serial production and enlarged the product range considerably. By 1911, Carl Zeiss had become the largest shareholder and the company was transformed into a GmbH. In 1957 – a century after the first instruments left Winkel’s workshop – R. Winkel GmbH became part of the Carl Zeiss Foundation.

Nowadays, Göttingen is the headquarters of Carl Zeiss CMP GmbH. CMP stands for Component & Module Production. The GmbH is part of the global ZEISS manufacturing network and offers services related to the development and production of optomechanical and optoelectronic modules and components, which are used in particular in high-performance lenses for microscopy.

The most important business partners of Carl Zeiss CMP GmbH are the ZEISS Group segments. In addition, Carl Zeiss CMP GmbH offers development and manufacturing services for external customers.

  • First documentary mention of Göttingen


    Göttingen is first mentioned as “Gutingi” in a document of Emperor Otto I.

    Göttingen receives town status
    Göttingen City Archives

    Around 1150

    Receiving the town charter.

    Opening of Georg August University, Göttingen
    Göttingen City Archives


    Opening of the Georg August University

  • Rudolf Winkel


    The entrepreneur and precision mechanic Rudolf Winkel manufactures precision mechanical devices in rented rooms in Goethe-Allee in Göttingen.

    Examination of the first angle microscopes


    The first larger Winkel microscopes are appraised by Professor Listing.

    Winkels workshop in the Düstere Eichenweg in Göttingen


    Winkel’s workshop moves to Düsterer Eichenweg 9 on the corner of Baurat-Gerber-Strasse.

    Carl Winkel


    The Winkels company expands rapidly. The eldest son Carl becomes head of the mechanical workshop. In 1890, Winkel employs 30 people.

    Carl Winkel


    The physicist and mathematician Ernst Abbe visits Winkel's workshop. Abbe has been a partner of Carl Zeiss in Jena since 1875.

  • Factory in the Königsallee in Göttingen


    After the death of Rudolf Winkel, his sons continue to run the company. In 1907, the factory is rebuilt on the current production site in Königsallee.

    Carl Zeiss becomes the largest shareholder in Winkel.


    Carl Zeiss becomes the largest shareholder. The company becomes a GmbH (limited liability company), and the factory building is once again expanded. Winkel is the first company to introduce the 8-hour workday. Number of employees: 130.

    Workstations in factory II


    The first "standard" microscope is delivered - one of the most successful microscope models.

    Workstations in factory II


    Plant II (optical production) is set up in Carl-Zeiss-Straße.

    R. Winkel GmbH is incorporated into the Carl Zeiss Foundation.


    On its 100th anniversary, R. Winkel GmbH becomes part of the Carl Zeiss Foundation. All employees now enjoy the social benefits.

  • 1998

    After the reunification of East and West Germany, Göttingen becomes the business division for light microscopy with production, development, production marketing and sales.


    The new 2500 square meter assembly hall in Königsallee is inaugurated with employees and personalities from politics and business.


    The Axio Imager®, developed and produced entirely in Göttingen, is launched on the market and receives the R & D 100 Award.

  • 2016

    The Celldiscoverer 7 ® appears, an automated microscope for live cell imaging.


    Carl Zeiss CMP GmbH is created as part of the global ZEISS manufacturing network:
    Targeted investments in infrastructure, machinery and technologies will ensure the site's long-term future viability - here at the commissioning of the cleanrooms in 2018.


    The ZEISS Lattice-Light Sheet 7 wins the German Future Prize, whose lenses are also produced in Göttingen.

History of ZEISS in Jena

How it all started

Jena was first mentioned in 1182 and was elevated to town status around 1230. It played a central role in the age of romanticism and the enlightenment. Due to its well known university, in particular, Jena was a center of attraction for many famous academics, including Goethe, Schiller, and Hegel.

The opening of the optical workshop at Neugasse 7 in Jena by Carl Zeiss in 1846 marked the beginning of one of the most important optical and precision mechanical firms in the world. Rapid growth necessitated expansion. The years to follow saw the workshop move several times, as well as new factory buildings, especially on the premises of the main factory in 1880 and the south factory in 1923.

Although Jena flourished in the first half of the 20th century, large areas of the town were destroyed when the main factory was bombed in 1945. The division of Germany also resulted in the division of Carl Zeiss into Carl Zeiss Oberkochen (West Germany) and VEB Carl Zeiss Jena (East Germany). German reunification had also a big impact on the fortunes of the latter concern: It became a subsidiary of Carl Zeiss Oberkochen and moved into Building 6/70, which provides almost 100,000 m² space.

Today, Jena is the headquarters of Carl Zeiss Microscopy GmbH, Carl Zeiss Meditec AG, Carl Zeiss Jena GmbH, and parts of research and development of the Group.

  • Jena first mentioned


    Jena first mentioned

    Wine growing in Jena

    Um 1230

    Town charter received; many people make their living from wine growing.

    Logo of the University of Jena
    University of Jena


    University founded. Long known as "Salana", it was renamed Friedrich Schiller University in 1934.

    Friedrich Schiller

    Ab 1789

    University of Jena's golden age: Schiller, Fichte, Schelling and Hegel lecture here on occasion. Thanks to August Wilhelm Schlegel, his wife Caroline, Friedrich Schlegel, Ludwig Tieck, Clemens Brentano, and Friedrich von Hardenburg (Novalis), Jena becomes a center of romanticism.

  • Napoleon stone in Cospeda near Jena


    Napoleon defeats the Prussian army in the battles of Jena und Auerstedt.

    Carl Zeiss optics workshop at Neugasse 7, Jena.


    Carl Zeiss opens an "Optical Workshop" at Neugasse 7.

    Carl Zeiss at Wagnergasse 32.


    The workshop moves to Wagnergasse 32.

    Carl Zeiss workshop near Johannisplatz in Jena


    The workshop moves again, this time to its own premises on Johannisplatz.

    Residence of Carl Zeiss and the first factory building on what would later be the property of the main plant.


    Residence of Carl Zeiss and the first factory building on what would later become the premises of the main plant.

  • Factory on the South Plant premises


    First building constructed on the South Plant premises.

    Destroyed main facility


    Large parts of Jena are destroyed in air raids, including the Main Plant.

  • Reichsbahn repair shop


    Acquisition of the Imperial Railway repair center, which eventually became the North Plant. Today it is known as the Saalepark Industrial Area.

    JenTower at Eichplatz


    In June 1969, the historical residential and business area around Eichplatz – which had survived World War II – is torn down to make room to construct what is now called the JenTower. Erected as a research center for Carl Zeiss, the building is transferred to the university prior to completion and today is owned by a private investor.

    Factory in Göschwitz


    The factory in Göschwitz begins operations. Today this is the Göschwitz Industrial Area.

    Building 6/70 in Jena


    Dedication ceremony for Building 6/70, which provides nearly 100,000 m² of space and thus constitutes one of the largest industrial buildings in Europe.

  • Carl Zeiss Jena GmbH in Building 6/70


    Carl Zeiss Jena GmbH becomes a subsidiary of Carl Zeiss Oberkochen and moves into renovated Building 6/70 (today Building 70).

    Carl Zeiss Meditec AG


    The buildings at Göschwitzer Strasse 51-52 are transferred to Carl Zeiss Meditec AG.

    New research center in Building 70


    Dedication ceremony for the new research center in Building 70.

History of ZEISS in Oberkochen

How it all started

The history of ZEISS in Oberkochen began at the end of World War II. In 1945, American troops deported 77 senior employees of Carl Zeiss Jena and brought them to Heidenheim. One year later, they founded “Opton Optische Werke Oberkochen GmbH” as a subsidiary of the Carl Zeiss Foundation. The new company moved into the rooms of empty factory buildings in Oberkochen. The name was changed several times: In 1947, the company operated as “Zeiss-Opton Optische Werke Oberkochen GmbH” and as “Carl Zeiss” beginning in 1951.

In the years that followed, the company expanded and with it the small community of Oberkochen. Besides the factory, housing developments for the employees were also erected. An administration building and a planetarium with a 20 m dome, along with other factory buildings, were added to the townscape in the 1950s and 1960s. The second phase of expansion occurred in the 1980s and included the construction of a building for industrial metrology. In 2006, the new plant of Carl Zeiss SMT AG – the world’s most advanced development and production center for lithography optics – was officially inaugurated. In 2012, the construction of new facilities for Carl Zeiss Meditec AG got underway.

  • Old photo of Oberkochen


    First mention of Oberkochen in Ellwangen Ledger.

  • Caricature “On the 10th Annual Commemoration of the Arrival from the Eastern Zone”.


    Senior employees of Carl Zeiss are deported by American Occupation Forces to Heidenheim.

    Opton Optische Werke Oberkochen GmbH


    Opton Optische Werke Oberkochen GmbH is founded as a subsidiary of the Carl Zeiss Foundation. An empty factory building provided accommodation facilities in Oberkochen. The factory was expanded in the 1950s.

    Zeiss-Opton Logo.


    Renamed to Zeiss-Opton Optische Werke Oberkochen GmbH.



    Headquarters of the Carl Zeiss Foundation moved to Heidenheim by the Baden-Württemberg government.

  • The logo of Carl Zeiss in Oberkochen, 1953–1971.


    Renamed Carl Zeiss.

    Thierstein in Oberkochen


    272 apartments were inaugurated in the Zeiss housing development area "Am Thierstein" in Oberkochen.

  • Administrative building in Oberkochen


    Construction of an administration building.

    Planetarium dome construction underway.


    Construction of a planetarium dome 20 m in diameter.

    Oberkochen receives town status


    Development area receives town status.

  • Construction of an assembly building for Industrial metrology


    Construction of an assembly building for Industrial metrology (Building XXXII).

    Factory expanded further.


    Factory expanded further.

    Carl Zeiss SMT AG plant


    Official inauguration of the plant of Carl Zeiss SMT AG, the world’s most advanced development and production center for lithography optics.

    Groundbreaking ceremony for the construction of the Carl Zeiss Meditec AG plant


    Construction of the facilities for Carl Zeiss Meditec AG begun.

History of ZEISS in Wetzlar

How it all started

For more than 150 years, Wetzlar has had a reputation as a center of optics and precision mechanics. This goes back to Moritz Hensoldt and Carl Kellner, pioneers in the field of modern optics. The roots of today’s Carl Zeiss Sports Optics GmbH in Wetzlar date back to the company of Moritz Hensoldt, which was founded in the middle of the 19th century. It was acquired by the Carl Zeiss foundation in 1928 and produces and sells optical and optronic devices as well as binoculars, riflescopes and spotting scopes.

  • Old view of Wetzlar


    First mention in the Lorsch Codex.

    Old etching of Wetzlar


    Wetzlar becomes an imperial city.

    Wetzlar becomes seat of the Imperial Superior Court


    Wetzlar becomes the seat of the Imperial High Court, the highest court of the Holy Roman Empire in Germany; a century of economic growth ensues.

  • With kind permission: (Dr. Timo Mappes) (Dr. Timo Mappes)


    The company Engelbert & Hensoldt relocates to Wetzlar. It was founded in Sonneberg, Thuringia, in 1852, moving to Braunfels in 1861.

    Moritz Hensoldt


    Besides working for Engelbert & Hensoldt, Moritz Hensoldt runs his own company.

    Handwritten construction drawing of a prismatic field pricker by Moritz Hensoldt


    Thanks to positive business developments, the existing space quickly becomes insufficient: Hensoldt acquires a workshop on Sophienstrasse and erects a factory one year later.

    Advertisement of the company M. Hensoldt & Söhne


    The company becomes a general partnership (OHG), operating under the name M. Hensoldt & Söhne.

    Construction of new buildings on Sophienstrasse.


    Construction of new buildings on Sophienstrasse.

  • Factory in Gloëlstrasse


    Due to the growing product range, the buildings on Sophienstrasse are too small: Construction of a factory on Gloëlstrasse begins, which is ready to be occupied one year later.

    Advertising sign for riflescope Hensoldt Dural-Dialytan


    The OHG is converted to an AG (stock company).

    Unemployment line, 1932 (with kind permission of the Ballhause Archive)


    During the worldwide depression, the company plunges into a crisis. The Carl Zeiss Foundation becomes the majority shareholder.

  • Schematic representation of the theater glass "Diadem"


    All field glasses of Carl Zeiss Oberkochen are manufactured in Wetzlar.

  • ZEISS manufactured riflescope and binoculars


    Renamed Carl Zeiss Sports Optics.