On September 11, 2016 the town of Jena, Germany, celebrated the 200th birthday of Mr. Carl Zeiss. I am sharing here some impressions from the personal life of Mr. Carl Zeiss – one of the great pioneers of microscopy – as told through the events of his 200th birthday celebration.
Carl Zeiss Jena was originally located at Johannisplatz in Jena. On September 11, 2016 it looked like this:
This is the house where the Zeiss family lived and where he operated his microscope business:
The family who now lives in this house opened their doors to the public and served home-made plum pie to the visitors.The lady of the house told me they had more than thousand visitors coming through their house that day.
Now let’s take a look at the company around the year 1860. A replica of the interior is now located at the Optical Museum Jena:
Now let’s take a look at some microscopes from this time. Here is an early single lens microscope, the predecessor of the modern Foldscope:
Notice the condenser lens between the mirror and the object holder. It renders a divergent beam of light into a parallel or converging beam to illuminate the object. The better the illumination, the better the image quality of the microscope.
Here is another model:
And a flyer, how single lens microscopes were advertised. It’s recommended for the use at home to examine meat and cotton fabrics.
Eventually, Carl Zeiss Jena became famous for compound microscopes. Here is a very early model of a compound microscope:
Now, in principle, there is nothing wrong with the single lens design. The main limitaion for the attainable magnification comes from the size and quality of the lens in the microscope. At the time when these microscopes were built, magnification of the single lens microscope was limited to around 300. That is different now with modern technology. Prof. Prakash envisions for the Foldscope to eventually reach a magnification of over 2000. That would be possible with a very small saphire lens less than 200 µm in diameter.
Finally, let’s take a look at the people of the Carl Zeiss company. Everybody from the early team is on here, except Mr. Zeiss himself.
Mr. Zeiss was the sales man in the shop. He would greet the customers who came into his building at Johannisplatz in Jena.