Ernst Abbe (1840–1905)


    THE ORIGIN OF A GREAT OPTICAL INDUSTRY THE great optical works of Zeiss in Jena, employing round about ten thousand people, is one of the leading firms of the world in the production of fine optical apparatus. This firm owes its high scientific standard, its economic efficiency and its growth to the creative genius of Ernst Abbe. The optical works of Carl Zeiss were originally the workshop of a skilful mechanic producing the necessary equipment for the laboratories of a small provincial university. The scholar Abbe gave to the mechanic Zeiss the results of his original scientific research. This was then leading to new methods in the design of optical apparatus, especially of microscopes. Those new instruments were of extraordinary perfection, so that an enormous demand from every part of the world made possible an extremely rapid expansion of the business. When after twenty years of growth, the well-known company had developed, Abbe renounced all his rights and gave the firm of Zeiss a constitution which has enabled it to survive its creator and to continue into our own turbulent times.

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    Ernst Abbe (1840–1905). Nature 145, 89–91 (1940).

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