Apprenticeship and Journeyman Years

1834 to 1845

Carl Zeiss left his home city at Easter 1834 and chose a nearby destination to pursue his further career: Jena, a good 20 kilometers east of Weimar and the seat of the state university.

The university in Jena determined the weals and woes of the populace. The Cives academici, i.e. students, professors and other persons associated with the university, all of whom had their own jurisdiction, constituted quite a formidable economic power despite accounting for less than one fifth of the city’s population.

While the production of luxury goods flourished in Weimar, Jena had at its disposal a considerable amount of skilled tradesmen, such as coppersmiths, watchmakers, and mechanics, who lived at least in part on work linked to science. Towards the end of the 18th century, however, a rather gloomy image of the city emerged. After a short-lived economic upsurge in around 1800 associated with such names as Friedrich Schiller, Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, Friedrich Schelling, Johann Gottlieb Fichte and Friedrich Schlegel, the university experienced some dark times. Thereafter, the number of students only began to rise gradually.

Milestones in Zeiss’s Education

Map of the German Confederation from 1830 onwards.
Source: GEI-Digital: