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150 Years of Innovation in Optics

This is reason enough for a short trip through the company's history!

  1. The Carl Zeiss community celebrated the 150th anniversary event at the city where the company was founded at Jena, in Thuringia, Germany on November 19, 1996. German Chancellor Helmut Kohl was among those present.

    Other News:

  2. Our notice of July 1998: "After being in production in one form or another of 15x60mm for more nearly thirty years, Carl Zeiss and Company Seven have announced that they are offering a limited number of 15x60mm B/GA binoculars which will be discontinued when sold out. These last production 15x60 B/GA with the new widefield high-eyepoint eyepieces are scheduled to arrive in September and will be available soon after that. However, we are accepting orders now and encourage those who want these to act promptly. If you have to ask the price, then you can not afford it. Company Seven knows this instrument is for those who wish the best compact medium aperture binocular in the world"; for astronomy, surveillance, nature watching, coast watching, etc.

  3. Our notice of July 1996: "Carl Zeiss is offering a limited edition 10x40mm B "150 Year Anniversary" binocular which will feature Gold plating, and a custom case. Production is expected to be 1,000 units or less. If you have to ask the price, then you can not afford it. Company Seven will accept orders for this instrument for those who wish to make the highest fashion statement!" has become a reality:

    On 14 November 1996 the U.S. Carl Zeiss Optical company formally announced the avilability of a limited edition binocular specially produced to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Carl Zeiss company. The binocular chosen is possibly the most succesful, and popular of the Zeiss Dialyt series.

    Only 1,000 "Zeiss 10 x 40 B ClassiC Gold" binoculars will be made. Finished in the finest grade of Nappa Leather, with the serialized current ZEISS logo in 18 carat gold, the eyepiece and objective rings in 18 carat gold plate, in a deluxe brown leather case with snap closure, and a personalized wood presentation box bearing the owners name.

    This will be available for $3,395.00 while supply lasts. In a most unusual arrangement, Carl Zeiss Optical agrees to buy back the Limited Edition 10 x 40 B ClassiC Gold" at its original purchase price should you decide to sell it at any time!

  4. Three large European satellites were successfully launched in 1995; these were the astronomical ISO satellite for observations in the infrared spectrum, and the SOHO and ERS-2 observatories. These launches were of importance to Zeiss, because all these satellites were carrying systems and components from Zeiss Oberkochen.

    In 1995 the NASA space probe "Galileo" reached Jupiter and then on July 13 it dispatched a probe into Jupiter's atmosphere. A "Helium Abundance Detector" interfereometer on the probe made by Zeiss at Oberkochen also contributed to the success of the effort during the 75 minute descent. This was the first instrument in space made by Zeiss, and so far is the farthest that Zeiss has traveled from Earth.

    Currently there are seven Carl Zeiss optical components or systems developed, manufactured and qualified for space applications traveling in space. These include:

    • "HIPPICAROS" (High Precision Parallax Collecting Satellite) astrometry satellite,
    • the "ROSAT" X-ray satellite which features four mirrors, the largest of which is an 83cm Zerodur diameter primary mirror (in the "Guinness Book of World Records" as the worlds smoothest mirrors of their size with a micro roughness of below 0.2 nanometers - this corresponds to the diameter of one atom!),
    • "ERS-2" for Earth surface and atmosphere studies,
    • "GOME" for ozone measurement,
    • "SOHO" (Solar Heliospheric Observatory) to explore the Sun, which carries the "LASCO" coronagraph and "CDS" spectrometer both with Zeiss optics.
    • "ISO" infrared satellite carries the Zeiss "ISOPHOT" photopolarimeter.

  5. Carl Zeiss, Oberkochen is developing and manufacturing seven mirror modules for the small German X-ray satellite "ABRIXAS" with a total cost of about 7 million DM. Commissioned by the German Space Agency (DARA in Bonn) it will be used for obtaining a survey of X-ray sources in space. This system is expected to be launched by a Russian rocket in 1999.

  6. In May 1995 the high-tech companies Leica in St. Gallen (Switzerland) and Carl Zeiss signed a letter of intent to pool their electron microscopy resources in an independent joint venture. The focus of the new company will be the onward development, manufacture, sales and service of scanning and transmission electron microscopes. The shareholders' agreement for the founding of the new joint venture LEO Electron Microscopy Ltd. (LEO) was formally signed on September 12, 1995, ahead of the originally envisaged schedule. LEO officially commenced trading on October, 2, 1995 following the approval of the German antitrust authorities (Bundeskartellamt, Berlin).

    The contract incorporating the new company was signed at the German Society of Electron Microscopy annual meeting in Leipzig by the CEOs of the parties, Dr. Peter Grassmann (Carl Zeiss) and Dr. Markus Rauh (Leica). A parallel announcement of the founding of the new company was made at the EMAG conference held at the University of Birmingham.

    Leica and Carl Zeiss will each hold a 50% share in LEO, which will have operating subsidiaries in the UK, Germany, France and the USA. Worldwide representation will be provided through the existing Leica and Carl Zeiss sales channels and a network of independent dealers. Customer Response Centers in the four operating subsidiaries will provide international backup.

    Dr. Peter Grassmann, CEO Carl Zeiss is nominated Chairman of the Board of the new company; Raghuvir Kalbag, a UK national, Chief Executive Officer. R. Kalbag comes to the company from the international headquarters of Leica in St. Gallen where he is a Member of the Corporate Management, and brings with him experience in the field of electron microscopy going back to 1976. They will be supported by a management team drawn primarily from Carl Zeiss and Leica.

    The existing facilities in Cambridge and Oberkochen for R&D, production, marketing and service of electron microscopes will be carried over into the new company. This decision maintains the long history of expertise and knowledge in transmission and scanning electron microscopes in the two sites where these technologies were pioneered.

    The Customer Response Center for Canada and the USA will be located in Thornwood, New York, and will house demonstration facilities, the service dispatch center, and offices for sales, service, marketing and administration personnel.

    It is envisaged that LEO will employ about 350 people world-wide, including those in the distribution and service networks, with a turnover of over 50 million pounds sterling.

    Peter Grassmann, Chairman designate of the LEO Board, stated in Leipzig at the signing of the contracts, "With the founding of LEO we are heralding a new era in the field of electron microscopy, drawing on the expertise of Carl Zeiss and Leica in this demanding high tech field. For customers dependent on such high resolution, state-of-the-art equipment, LEO provides a strong partner for comprehensive application solutions and technical service."

    Raghuvir Kalbag, LEO's Chief Executive Officer designate, said, "Our combined extensive knowledge of relevant technologies and, specifically, our deep understanding of our customers' applications will give us unique strength. We will utilize this to meet the ever increasing need for innovation and develop a consistent and sustained program of new products which will further enhance our current offering."

    In answer to a question, Markus Rauh, CEO Leica, stated in Leipzig, "Other than the founding of LEO, there are no further plans for cooperation between Leica and Carl Zeiss." Both companies enjoy top international positions in the development, manufacture and marketing of optical microscopes, surveying in instruments and photogrammetric equipment, and competition between them will continue in these fields.

  7. In April 1997 Astro-Physics Company, Baader Planetarium, and Company Seven announced the availability of a limited quantity of new production Carl Zeiss Abbe Orthoscopic oculars for astronomical telescopes.

    This marks the first production of such accessories since when Zeiss dissolved their amateur telescope division in the Fall of 1995.


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