Carl Zeiss (1818–1888) established a workshop for optical instruments in
Jena in 1846. Under the leadership of Heinrich Wild, Zeiss began making
instruments for surveying and geodesy in 1908. The Zeiss factory was severely
damaged during World War II, and the partition of Germany put Jena within the
Soviet zone of occupation. Before Soviet troops could take control of the area,
however, American troops moved some 81 Zeiss employees, and 43 employees of the
related Schott optical works, to the American zone of occupation. A new
business, known originally as Optische Werke Oberkochen and later as Carl Zeiss,
was established in 1946. The old Zeiss works became VEB Carl Zeiss JENA in 1948.
Both firms made instruments for surveying and geodesy. The reunification of
Germany paved the way for the reunification of the two branches of Zeiss in
1995, and the consolidation of the manufacture of surveying and geodetic
instruments in Jena.