Optic Industry Museum

The history of the optical industry is explored in a museum in the Kulturzentrum Rathenow (Rathenow Cultural Centre) at the town of Rathenow in north-east Germany. The pioneer of optics, who brought the future industry to Rathenow, was Johann Heinrich August Duncker (1767-1843), a theologian who began making microscopes in around 1790. He established workshops for making optical instruments and eye-glasses in 1801 and invented and patented the multi-grinding machine, which made it easier to shape lenses. By the mid-nineteenth century many optics companies were established in the town and by 1896 there were 163. The museum examines the history of optics locally and internationally – it includes telescopes, lighthouse lanterns, projectors, microscopes, cameras, glasses, visual aids and protective goggles among other products. It looks at the companies that made them, their workers, equipment, markets and publicity. There are also displays about the history of the town from the Middle Ages through the industrial revolution to the Second World War and the communist era.

Optic Industry Museum
Märkischer Platz 3
14712 Rathenow
+49 (0) 3385 - 519040