ZEISS has been producing high-precision microscopes since the middle of the 19th century. From 1857 onwards, the simple models were followed by compound microscopes. Thanks to the work of scientist Ernst Abbe, microscopes have been based on theoretical calculations since 1872. This enabled the production of large numbers of microscopes to the same exceptional quality. In addition to scientific applications, the microscopes came to be used for routine tasks in clinics, for checking materials, and for educational purposes. The development of microscopes kept advancing, resulting in new models with new technologies, such as the renowned Axiomat in 1973 and the LSM laser scanning microscope, a microscope system with object scanning by means of an oscillating laser and electronic image processing.
Simple microscope with doublet and triplet optics. Production of simple microscopes begins.
Carl Zeiss sells his first compound microscope.
High-performance microphotographic system from Roderich Zeiss (1850–1919).
Metallographic system based on Martens design.
Invention of the ultramicroscope by Henry Siedentopf and Richard A. Zsigmondy
Ultraviolet microscope by August Köhler and Moritz von Rohr
Test setup for fluorescence microscopy by August Köhler and Henry Siedentopf.
The famous L-stand becomes the standard for microscope design
First prototype of a phase-contrast microscope based on Zernike’s original design; he wins the Nobel Prize in 1953
Device for microcinematography: Under the direction of Kurt Michel, the first film on cell division is produced in a "micro"laboratory with the aid of a phase-contrast microscope.
The "Standard" microscope becomes one of the most successful models in the history of Carl Zeiss
Launch of an all-new photomicroscope with integrated camera and automatic exposure control
Axiomat, a microscope with unparalleled stability and image quality
The laser scanning microscope, a microscope system with object scanning through an oscillating laser beam and electronic image processing
ZEISS unveils a new generation of microscopes: the "pyramids": the design includes special features of the Axioplan, Axiophot, and Axiotron: ICS (Infinity Color Corrected System) and SI (System Integration)
The ApoTome imaging process allows high-quality, economical optical sections to be produced by means of biological samples marked by fluorescence In the same year it won the R&D 100 Award
The LSM 5 LIVE, a light microscope, with which living cells can be examined 20 times faster and in a particularly gentle manner, enters series production in Jena and receives the R&D Award for its performance in real-time research.
Illumination apparatus with focusable condenser: Ernst Abbe
Ernst Abbe’s research results allow microscope optics to be produced on the basis of mathematical calculations for the first time
Microscopes with homogeneous immersion, calculated by Abbe according to ideas by J.W. Stephenson
First apochromatic microscope lens, a color-corrected objective lens for three wavelengths based on the calculations of Ernst Abbe The foundation for this achievement was in part the concerted attempts by Abbe and Schott to improve optical glass
Illumination device with separate control of the luminous field and condenser aperture: August Köhler (1866–1948)
The Pancratic condenser made for an ideal way of combining a microscope with the whole illumination device for the first time
Plan-Apochromats and Plan-Achromats with a flat image field for photomicrography based on calculations by Hans Boegehold (1876–1965)
Neofluar: new optics for making microscopes
Ultrafluar: Carl Zeiss manufactures lens system for ultraviolet light and visible light – a major step forwards in micro-spectral photometry
Differential interference contrast (DIC) device according to Georges Nomarski
PlasDIC by ZEISS allows the use of plastic dishes for microscopic examinations to apply the differential interference contrast