Celebrating 175 Years of Innovation

Today, members of the Tonsley Innovation community will celebrate a momentous occasion in their company’s history. ZEISS, the international optics manufacturer located under the MAB, will celebrate their 175th anniversary. Becoming a member of the Tonsley community in 2018 when they relocated their office from Lonsdale, ZEISS has a deep history of innovation both here in Adelaide and internationally, producing a series of market shaping innovations which have set the standards in the optical industry for generations.

"When ZEISS was established 175 years ago, it was curiosity, passion and precision that inspired us and our customers. Over time, new perspectives have shaped our view of the world. And we have seen great opportunities in great challenges. Even though the world has changed significantly over the past 175 years, one thing will remain the same: Together, we challenge the limits of our imagination." Zeiss International

From humble beginnings to optical superpower

The company’s success story began 175 years ago, in a small workshop in Jena, Germany. On 17 November 1846, young mechanic Carl Zeiss opened his workshop for precision mechanics and optics  – laying the foundation for what would become today’s global technology player, ZEISS. Zeiss went on to join forces with physicist and mathematician Ernst Abbe and in 1873, Abbe developed his eponymous formula to limit the optical resolution in a microscope. From this moment, Abbe’s findings have also been adopted in other fields of optics, leading to the creation of all-new products, new business areas and rapid growth for the company.

However, what proved pivotal to the company’s development was Jena-based glass chemist Otto Schott, who successfully produced glass that offered new optical properties. In 1879 he sent a sample to Abbe, a move that would lead to a fruitful collaboration, and by 1884, The quality of the optical glass ZEISS was creating ultimately made it possible for the benefits of Abbe’s theory to be fully implemented in Zeiss instruments.

These key developments marked the beginning of more than 175 years of ongoing innovation.

Following Carl Zeiss’ death in 1889, Ernst Abbe established the Carl Zeiss Foundation – dedicated to the promotion of science, and it remains one of Germany’s biggest foundations to this day. Each year, ZEISS invests 10% of it’s revenue into the foundation to support optical research, making it one of the largest foundation owned companies globally.

Today, ZEISS is a globally leading technology company operating in the optical and optoelectronic industries. It is divided into four segments: Semiconductor Manufacturing Technology, Industrial Quality & Research, Medical Technology and Consumer Markets, employing over 34,000 people in almost 50 countries and revenue over 6 Billon euro annually.

"The ZEISS 175 year anniversary is a hugely important milestone for us. It’s a great opportunity to reflect on the market shaping innovations ZEISS has pioneered over those years. When you look at the history of the company there has always been a focus on the pursuit of science and technology to solve problems that make a positive impact on peoples lives." Karen Roberts - Head of Global Customer Enablement.

Global celebrations

ZEISS will be celebrating its 175th anniversary in a collection of global and local ways. At Tonsley, there will be a coordinated “virtual” cake cutting involving the other ZEISS offices around Australia and New Zealand, before the local team will break away for a team lunch and the opportunity to dial into a live update later that evening, to hear from the company CEO Dr. Karl Lamprecht and other thought leadership pieces from prominent figures in the worlds of science, politics, and the economy.

ZEISS has also generously sent a present to each of its 32,000 employees, consisting of a corporate T-Shirt, coffee table book on the history of the company, a personal message from the CEO and a collage made up of every employee’s picture, when viewed at a distance, becomes the face of the founder, Dr. Carl Zeiss.

Team members can also tune into a live, 24-hour radio channel, extending to all offices as they celebrate the event. This show will feature region specific stories and key discussion topics to incentivize future areas of innovation.