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Brief Leica / Leitz Time Line
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The history of Leica is closely linked with the history of the Leitz works. In what follows, we present you with a summary of the most important milestones in an eventful history.
1849 - The 23-year-old mathematician Carl Kellner from Hirzenhain establishes an "Optical Institute" in Wetzlar for the development of lenses and microscopes.
1851 - The first lenses and microscopes are introduced onto the market.
1855 - After the death of Carl Kellner, his widow continues the business with twelve employees.
1865 - The precision mechanic Ernst Leitz becomes a partner in the company.
1869 - Ernst Leitz takes over the sole management of the company and expands it under his name.
1887 - The 10,000th microscope is produced, the number of employees is approximately 120.
1900 - Ernst Leitz introduces the 8-hour day and founds a health insurance association.
1907 - Commencement of the manufacture of binoculars
1920 - After the death of Ernst Leitz I, his son, Ernst Leitz II, takes over the management of the company.
1924 - Ernst Leitz II decides to mass-produce the camera constructed by Oskar Barnack. Meanwhile the number of employees in the factory has risen to 1,000.
1925 - At the spring fair in Leipzig, the Leica camera is presented to the public for the first time.
1938 - Foundation of the Leica School which later becomes the Leica Academy.
1952 - Construction of the manufacturing plant in Midland, Ontario, in Canada.
1956 - The sons of Ernst Leitz II, Ernst Leitz III, Ludwig Leitz and GŁnther Leitz, take over the management of the firm after their father's death.
1963 - Trinovid binoculars: basic new development in binocular construction
1966 - In April production starts in the Oberlahn plant.
1973 - The Portugal plant in Vila Nova de Famalic„o near Porto starts production.
1986 - Foundation of Leica GmbH in order to bundle activities in the photo market.
1987 - On the January 1st, 1987, Ernst Leitz Wetzlar GmbH and Wild Heerbrugg AG merge to form the Wild Leitz group. The new company employs a total 9,000 people.
1988 - Move to the new plant in Solms near Wetzlar.
1989 - Production starts for the revolutionary Trinovid BA binoculars under the Leica name. Modular 42mm design sets the standard for quality binoculars.
1990 - The merger of Wild Leitz Holding AG with The Cambridge Instrument Company plc creates the new Leica Holding B.V. group. So now the Leica name also stands for the leading manufacturer of microscopes, surveying and photogrammetry systems, as well as optical-scientific instruments. Incorporation of the Zett-Geršte-Werk (former Zeiss-Ikon) into the Leica Camera Group and foundation of Leica Projektion GmbH.
1992 - Multifunctional Geovid binoculars with laser rangefinder and electronic compass.
1994 - Introduction of Televid rifle scopes.
1996 - On April 1st, Leica takes over the camera division of Minox GmbH, manufacturer of sub-miniature and miniature cameras. On July 25th, 1996 the Leica Camera GmbH is transformed into a public company. Now the company is called Leica Camera AG.
2000 - In November 2000 Hermťs International SCA, Paris, took over 31,5 percent of the stock capital of Leica Camera AG, Solms.
2000 - Leica LRF 800 Rangemaster: compact range finder.
2002 - LEICA DUOVID 8 x+ 12x42: The first high-performance binoculars in the world with switchable magnification.
2004 - Reintroduction of the Geovid in a compact design.
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