A Fledgling Company

1846 to 1857

Fortunately for Zeiss, a single advertisement proved to be sufficient to attract someone who would go on to play a key role in the company’s success: August Löber (1830 – 1912).

The son of a craftsman, Löber was already 17 and therefore theoretically too old to apply, but the death of his father in January 1847 had left him in a position of genuine hardship. There is no record of whether this influenced Zeiss’s decision to employ him or indeed whether anybody else even applied for the job in the small town of Jena.

But what we do know is that over the next 44 years Löber was promoted from apprentice to foreman, eventually ending up as the head of production and the company’s most valued instructor and trainer. Moritz von Rohr reported on how Löber, at a later stage in his career, was entitled to a share of the company’s profits and became a very wealthy man.

This illustrates the extraordinary regard in which the foreman was held in the company, even though much of the workforce considered his managerial style to be short-tempered and authoritarian.

The foreman August Löber with mechanics and apprentices in 1864 (from left to right): Carl Müller, Friedrich Pfaffe, Joseph Rudolph, Wilhelm Böber, Heinrich Pape, Fritz Müller and August Löber. (Photo: ZEISS Archives)

The foreman August Löber with mechanics and apprentices in 1864 (from left to right): Carl Müller, Friedrich Pfaffe, Joseph Rudolph, Wilhelm Böber, Heinrich Pape, Fritz Müller and August Löber. (Photo: ZEISS Archives)

Company size

1 – 3 employees

Microscope development

First compound microscope

Documentation

Employment reference

Current events

Industrialization