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  • Zeiss Acquires Historical Microscope Built by Company Founder
Aug 2016
JENA, Germany, Aug. 12, 2016 — The archives of Carl Zeiss AG have acquired a historical microscope, said to have been made in 1850 by its founder Carl Zeiss. This years marks Zeiss' 200th birthday. 

Acquired at a pharmacy closeout sale by Manfred Eichel of Lahntal, Germany, the microscope was purchased by Zeiss.

Wolfgang Wimmer, head of the ZEISS Archives (left) and Manfred Eichel display the simple microscope that dates back to 1850, making it likely that it was built by Carl Zeiss himself. Courtesy of Jürgen Scheere/ZEISS.

The device is secured onto a wooden base and features hand supports with a rotating diaphragm. There is no discernible serial number.

"We are delighted to have such a rare specimen, which is said to have been made by our founder himself,” said Wolfgang Wimmer, head of the Zeiss archives, during the official handover. “It is an excellent addition to our historical collection.”

Zeiss opened a small workshop for precision mechanics and optics in Jena in 1846, laying the foundation for today’s company. In 1847, he began producing simple microscopes, and in 1857, he began building compound microscopes.

The microscope will be part of a touring exhibition in Jena beginning in September. The device will then go on display at the company’s customer center.

“Our customers both in Germany and abroad never fail to be fascinated with our company’s history,” said Dr. Markus Weber, CEO of Carl Zeiss Microscopy GmbH. “Only a handful of companies can look back over such a long tradition.”

Carl Zeiss is a manufacturer of optical systems, industrial measurements and medical devices.

An instrument consisting essentially of a tube 160 mm long, with an objective lens at the distant end and an eyepiece at the near end. The objective forms a real aerial image of the object in the focal plane of the eyepiece where it is observed by the eye. The overall magnifying power is equal to the linear magnification of the objective multiplied by the magnifying power of the eyepiece. The eyepiece can be replaced by a film to photograph the primary image, or a positive or negative relay...
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