I PURPOSE dealing with statistics compiled from information afforded me by two German firms and one Austrian, Messrs. Zeiss, Leitz and Reichert respectively, all of whom are well-known makers of microscopes, and the first named of many other optical instruments, including prismatic field glasses, of which, as is well known to you all, they were the originators. I must say that the figures quoted refer approximately to the end of the year 1899, since which date the average rate of increase has been more than maintained. Taking first the firm of Zeiss, in Jena, twenty years ago they employed fifty men; five years later the number had leaped up to 170, or more than three times as many; in another five years the number had practically been doubled, 327 being the precise number; yet another five years saw the number 580; while to-day (1899) they employ the astonishing number (astonishing, that is, for the class of instruments they manufacture) of 946 men, this grand total being made up as follows: theoretical staff, 22; office and dispatch, 36; mechanics, 322; opticians, 371; wood-workers, leather-workers, foundry-men, &c., 129. Of these men, 832 in number, including only those actually at work in the shops, 58, or 7 per cent, are foremen, and 178, or 27 per cent., are youths under eighteen. Turning now to Leitz, in Wetzlar, who, I may say, manufactures microscopes almost exclusively, we find the same steady progress, if not exhibited in such a striking degree. The numbers employed were: in 1879, 35; in 1884, 100; in 18F 160; in 1894, 200; and at the present day (1899) 253. This number is divided up as follows: theoretical staff, 4; office and dispatch, 9; mechanics, 164; opticians, 60; case work, &c, 16. The foremen number 10, or 4.2 per cent., and the boys 18, or 7.25 per cent, of the total number actually employed in the shops, viz., 240. The firm of Reichert, in Vienna, although smaller, shows an almost identical rate of progress with that of Leitz, the numbers being: employed in 1879, 20; in 1884, 40; in 1889, 75; in 1894, 100; present day (1899), 150; of these, 3 form the theoretical staff, 8 are employed in the office and dispatch department; while of the remainder 120 are mechanics, 30 opticians and 8 case-makers, &c, the boys being 15 per cent, of the whole. I am afraid the numbers given in detail do not always agree with the totals, but I give them as received.....
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German Progress in Optical Work 1 . Nature 66, 138–139 (1902). https://doi.org/10.1038/066138b0