History of ZEISS in Jena

  • How it all started

    How it all started


    Jena was first mentioned in 1182 and was elevated to town status around 1230. It played a central role in the enlightenment and romanticism ages.

    Due to its well known university, in particular, Jena was a center of attraction for many popular academics like Goethe, Schiller and Hegel.

    The opening of the optical workshop at Neugasse 7 in Jena by Carl Zeiss in 1846 marked the beginning of one of the most important optical and precision mechanical firms in the world.

    Rapid growth necessitated expansion. The years to follow saw the workshop move several times, as well as new factory buildings, especially on the premises of the main factory in 1880 and the south factory in 1923.

    New buildings were erected at the main plant as of 1880 and at the south plant as of 1923.

    Although Jena flourished in the first half of the twentieth century, large areas of the town were destroyed when the main factory was bombed in 1945.

    However, the bombing in 1945 destroyed large portions of the city. The division of Germany also resulted in the division of Carl Zeiss into Carl Zeiss Oberkochen (West Germany) and VEB Carl Zeiss Jena (East Germany). German reunification had also a big impact on the fortunes of the latter concern: it became a subsidiary of Carl Zeiss Oberkochen and moved into Building 6/70, which provides almost 100,000 m² space.

    Today, Jena is the headquarters of Carl Zeiss Microscopy GmbH, Carl Zeiss Meditec AG, Carl Zeiss Jena GmbH and parts of research and development.


  • 1182 – 1805
  • 1806 – 1914
  • 1915 – 1945
  • 1946 – 1989
  • 1990 – today