Carl Paul Goerz was born in Brandenburg, Germany in 1854. Little is known about his family or his early childhood. After completion of middle school, he apprenticed with lens maker Emil Busch's company in Rathenow. Within this four-year period, he acquired the necessary knowledge and resources to work independently. During the next decade, Herr Goerz honed his skills throughout Europe, serving primarily as a sales agent representing several German companies. He also became a shareholder of in Eugen Kraus' optical distribution office in Paris. Returning to Berlin in 1886, Herr Goerz and one assistant opened a small optical instrument retailer. However, upon the death of his mentor Emil Busch two years' later, he recognized the potential market for the assembly and manufacturing of his own line of products. Along with his friend and business partner, photographer and part-time inventor Ottomar Anschuetz, Herr Goerz began producing his own line of easy-to-use cameras perfect for the amateur or recreational photographer. Seeking to expand into specialized lenses, Herr Goerz sought the expertise of Swiss optician Carl Moser, who developed the Lynkeioskop pre-anastigmat or rectilinear lens for the fledgling company. After Herr Moser's death in 1891, Emil von Hoegh filled the void in innovation by inventing the Dagor lens, which has the distinction of being the first symmetrical lens that fully corrected for the ongoing problem of astigmatism. This double anastigmat lens became an enormous success, with annual sales steadily growing to a corporate high of 200,000 in 1908.
By the last decade of the nineteenth century, Mr. Goerz's factory was manufacturing cameras, lenses, focal-plane shutters, prism telescopes, 'Trieder' binoculars, reflectors, and projection equipment. C.P. Goerz products made their American debut at the 1893 World's Fair in Chicago. It would esablish its first permanent residence in the United States as the C. P. Goerz Optical Company, located at 317 East 34th Street in New York City. Shortly thereafter, the international manufacturer's first color slide projectors and yellow glass plate filters for landscape photography were rolling off assembly lines. In 1908, an alliance with Joseph Arthur Berson resulted in the production of balloon and air survey cameras. Photojournalists would soon have a new tool at their disposal in the form of a 'night camera' with customized lenses and shutters.
During the First World War I, C. P. Goerz was a major supplier of panoramic telescopes, often used as periscopes in submarines. By war's end, Herr Goerz had global factories and distribution offices throughout Europe and the United States and more than 10,000 employees. Herr Goerz was an early advocate for socioeconomic equality, and ensured that his employees worked no more than 48 hours per week and received generous paid vacation and holiday packages. Carl Paul Goerz died in Berlin on January 14, 1923. Three years later, C. P. Goerz merged with three other companies to form the Zeiss-Ikon Company.
CLICK HERE for a listing of C.P. Goerz Cameras
1911 British Journal of Photography, Vol. LVIII (London: Henry Greenwood & Co.),
2007 Encyclopedia of Nineteenth-Century Photography, Vol. I (New York: Routledge/Taylor & Francis Group LLC), pp. 596-598.
2014 Price List of Double Anastigmats, C. P. Goerz Optical Works (Berlin-Schöneberg, Germany) (URL: http://www.piercevaubel.com/cam/catalogs/1895goerzlp723.htm).
1911 Wilson's Photographic Magazine, Vol. XLVIII (New York: Edward L. Wilson), pp. 566-567.
Copyright © 2002 - 2019 Historic Camera