Here you will find an overview of the most important innovations of the Carl Zeiss Company.

  • 1857 – 1894
    The first compound microscope


    Carl Zeiss sells his first compound microscope


    All lenses are manufactured on the basis of Ernst Abbe's theory of microscopes

    High-performance microphotographic system from Roderich Zeiss


    High-performance microphotographic system from Roderich Zeiss (1850–1919).

    Binoculars with greater distance between the objective lenses


    Binoculars with increased distance between the objective lenses: crisper image with better depth of field

  • 1895 – 1945
    Tessar® lens


    Tessar® lens, the "eagle eye of the camera".

    Large ophthalmoscope with the Punktal® eyeglass lens


    The large ophthalmoscope and the Punktal® eyeglass lens revolutionize ophthalmic optics and ophthalmology.
    Length measuring machine


    Length measuring machine based on Eppenstein’s principle.

    The projection planetarium (Model I)


    First presentation of the projection planetarium (Model I) in Munich; inauguration in the Deutsches Museum in 1925

    Alexander Smakula


    Patent for the coating technique developed by Alexander Smakula to reduce reflections on glass

    Prototype of a phase contrast microscope


    First prototype of a phase-contrast microscope based on Zernike’s original design, who wins the Nobel Prize in 1953.

  • 1946 – 1989
    Transmission electron microscope (TEM)


    Electrostatic AEG-ZEISS transmission electron microscope EM 8.

    OPMI® 1 surgical microscope


    The OPMI® 1 surgical microscope – developed in collaboration with leading surgeons: Dr. Horst Wullstein (ENT) and Dr. Heinrich Harms (ophthalmology).

    Xenon photocoagulator


    Xenon photocoagulator based on the Meyer-Schwikerath design, the world’s first instrument to use light as a surgical tool and a forerunner of ophthalmic lasers.

    UMM 500 (Universal Measuring Machine)


    UMM 500: Carl Zeiss launches the first CNC coordinate measuring machine with a measuring probe and
    an HP 9810 computer.


    Carl Zeiss supplies the optics for the world's first wafer stepper: The S-Planar® 10/0.42 objective lens is the first to enable opto-lithographic production of 1 µm structures.

    The S-Planar® 10/0.42


    The laser scanning microscope, a microscope system with object scanning through an oscillating laser beam and electronic image processing

    Gradal® HS


    Gradal® HS – progressive eyeglass lenses with the same visual conditions for both eyes in all viewing directions.

  • 1990 – 1999
    Binoculars with mechanical image stabilization


    Carl Zeiss is the world's first manufacturer to produce binoculars with mechanical image stabilization (20 x 60 S). The image stabilization system compensates for hand tremor and allows successful free-hand observation at 20x magnification

    ROSAT X-ray satellite


    Launch of the ROSAT X-ray satellite featuring the world's smoothest mirrors to study sources of X-rays.

    AIMS™ system


    Delivery of first AIMS™ system for advanced photomask evaluation

    UNIVERSARIUM planetarium projector featuring fiber optics


    Series production of the UNIVERSARIUM planetarium projector featuring fiber optics



    IOLMaster®: Measurement of all parameters required for implanting intraocular lenses, for the first time without touching the eye.

  • 2000 – today
    Gradal Individual® progressive eyeglass lens


    Gradal Individual® progressive eyeglass lens: for the first time, not only the dioptric effect, but also the personal parameters obtained for each patient in the fitting procedure are incorporated in the computation of the progressive surface.

    The OPMI Pentero® surgical microscope


    The OPMI Pentero® surgical microscope for neurosurgery provides comprehensive digital visualization possibilities.

    The Starlith® 1700i lithography objective lens


    The Starlith® 1700i lithography objective lens for microchip fabrication is the first system of its kind to combine lens elements and mirror systems.

    ORION helium-ion microscope


    Carl Zeiss introduces the ORION helium-ion microscope. Samples are scanned with helium ions instead of electrons. which offers markedly better resolution and improved material contrast.

    Shuttle & Find correlative microscopy system


    The "Shuttle & Find" correlative microscopy system facilitates the examination of specimens in light and electron microscopes, e.g. through the relocation of relevant structures via special markings.