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Few of us who use the admirable microscopes which bear the name of Zeiss realize that when we buy one of these instruments we are encouraging a most novel and daring, if not revolutionary, industrial experiment. Carl Zeiss and his partner, Ernst Abbe (the inventor of the Abbe condenser) are not known to the scientific world as altruistic dreamers, yet the record of their experiment in profit sharing and in the application of democratic ideals to industrialism reads almost like the optimistic visions of a Bellamy.
The Zeiss optical works were started in a humble way in Jena as long ago as 1846 under Carl Zeiss, who later, in 1875, took as partner Ernst Abbe. From the first Zeiss seems to have planned the organization of the industry on a co-operative basis, with the guarantee of personal liberty to the employés in all political matters, an unusual departure in Germany
THE ZEISS OPTICAL WORKS.. JAMA. 1906;XLVI(12):886. doi:10.1001/jama.1906.02510390044007