History of ZEISS in Oberkochen

  • How it all started

    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. In 1946, the Opton Optische Werke Oberkochen GmbH was a subsidiary of the Carl Zeiss Foundation. The new company set up shop in 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.

  • 1335 – 1944

    1335

    First mention of Oberkochen in Ellwangen Ledger.

  • 1945 – 1950
    Caricature “On the 10th Annual Commemoration of the Arrival from the Eastern Zone”.

    1945

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

    Opton Optische Werke Oberkochen GmbH

    1946

    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.

    1947

    Renamed to Zeiss-Opton Optische Werke Oberkochen GmbH.

    Heidenheim

    1948

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

  • 1951 – 1962
    The logo of Carl Zeiss in Oberkochen, 1953–1971.

    1951

    Renamed Carl Zeiss.

    Thierstein in Oberkochen

    1957

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

  • 1963 – 1980

    1963

    Construction of an administration building.

    Planetarium dome construction underway.

    1964

    Construction of a planetarium dome 20 m in diameter.

    1968

    Development area receives town status.

  • 1981 – today

    1981

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

    1985

    Factory expanded further.

    2006

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

    2011

    Construction of the facilities for Carl Zeiss Meditec AG begun.

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