Country: Germany City: Jena
Founded: May 13, 1903 Colors: Blue, White, Yellow
FC Carl Zeiss Jena currently play in the Regionalliga Nordost, the fourth tier of German football. The team was formed by the workers at the Carl Zeiss AG factory. FC Carl Zeiss Jena, then known as Fussball-Club der Firma Carl Zeiss, played most of its early years in the Meister Gauliga Thüringen; a regional competition in the Thuringia region of Germany where the city of Jena is located. The team has undergone many name changes over the years. FC Carl Zeiss Jena is its latest, and hopefully final, of the twelve different names it has assumed over the years.
FC Carl Zeiss Jena began its life outside of Thuringia in the old, Nazi sponsored Gauliga Mitte in 1933. It was the highest level of German football under Nazi rule. FC Carl Zeiss Jena, then 1. SV Jena 03, won four titles and finished runner up twice during the eleven years of the league’s existence.
After the establishment of East Germany in 1949, a new league was formed. SG Carl Zeiss Jena was a founding member of the original DDR Liga II in 1950. It won promotion to the DDR Oberliga the following year and had some success, winning the East German Championship three times, before German reunification. It’s greatest success on the European stage was its 2nd place finish to Dinamo Tbilisi in the 1981 Cup Winners Cup. In 2009, FC Carl Zeiss Jena almost went bankrupt.
Carl Zeiss, born in Germany in 1816, was a maker of lenses used in early cameras and microscopes. As a boy, he was very interested in mathematics and science. He opened a shop in 1846 that sold telescopes and microscopes. During this time, he tinkered with making his own microscopes. He achieved some success and was able to move to a larger shop. This was the beginning of Carl Zeiss Jena which is now known as Carl Zeiss AG. Today, Carl Zeiss AG is on the cutting edge of optics and creates lenses for NASA, cameras, and important medical technology.
Carl Zeiss also had other achievements outside of the world of optics. He, along with his Ernst Abbe, changed the plight of workers in Germany. They pioneered the eight hour work day and introduced social insurance. This insurance guaranteed free medical care to every employee at the Carl Zeiss Jena factory. Zeiss and Abbe were regarded as socialist heroes by the East German regime.