A maker of optical and photographic equipment.
The company has its origins in Jena, an industrial city in Germany, in 1846. There, Carl Zeiss, a faculty member in Jena University, started up his company producing optical equipment.
They were a dominant force in photography and microscopy for much of the 20th century, and responsible for many advances in both fields. The history of Carl Zeiss is a long and tangled one, involving many take-overs and mergers (like many other companies), as well as restructuring due to World Wars (spinning off Pentacon in East Germany). Read about it at: http://www.contaxcameras.com/home/history.html
Today, they still make fine research microscopes and photographic lenses under the Zeiss name, and cameras under the Contax name.