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Docter Optic used to be a small German company founded in 1985 by Bernhard Docter (no relation to academic titles or medicine). The correct spelling of the name is Docter, not Doktor, Doctar, or Doctor, and it is Docter Optic, not Docter Optics.

The history of this company is very interesting, but first of all, we would like to mention that we have a wide selection of:

So, we thought it would be interesting to include an extract of from Docter's German web site that outlines the history of optics in general and Docter Optic in particular.

The history of binoculars as well as  is inseparably linked to the company Carl Zeiss, to which also the roots of Docter Optic product history go back. binoculars, the most common kind of terrestrial telescopes or spotting scopes, meanwhile have got a tradition of more than 100 years, the foundations of binoculars in the form known today having been laid by the company Carl Zeiss on July 9th 1 1893 with the Deutsche Reichspatent No. 77086 "Double telescope with increased objective distance". Already in this year the first so-called "double field glasses" were manufactured. Approximately at the same time, in 1892, the first Docter Rifle Scopes were built. Docter Red Dot Sights were presented to public a lot later.

The company Carl Zeiss took a decisive part in the rapid development that followed for this line of production. 10,000 prism binoculars were produced here up to 1900. In 1903 the first spotting scope was presented. In 1919 the first binoculars with wide angle eyepieces (70 degree apparent field of view) appeared. In 1920 new Docter Riflescopes with lens erection system for hunting were on offer for the first time. Already in 1922 the first sights with variable magnification were introduced by Zeiss. In 1926 binoculars with in-line optics and roof edge prisms were added to the product range. In 1936 Zeiss introduced reflection-reducing optical layers for increasing the light transmission for these optical products. In the 30s and 40s the development of visual observation and sight devices reached a climax, due to the forced arms development of World War II. A very wide spectrum of optical devices was already on offer, which was expanded by a multitude of military models during the years of the war. At this point aspherics were already used and magnesium was employed for the binocular case.

The scientific knowledge about optics was documented by the fundamental work by Albert König and Horst Köhler, "The binoculars and distance meters", published in its 3rd edition, which is still acknowledged today, by Springerverlag in 1959. The applying physical laws had already been extensively investigated and were systematically applied to new and further developed optical products. In addition to the improvement of details the technological development is characterized by the continuously improving adaptation to requests of users and their various demands.

With the end of World War II many leading employees left the Jena plant, and large parts of it were dismantled. With the new start in the years after the war the range of products was severely "cleansed" and a concentration on the proven binoculars models 7x50 , 10x50 and 8x30, the combined annual production of which totaled over 200,000 units..

In 1952 a part of the company VEB Carl Zeiss Jena was established in Eisfeld. Starting from tasks as supplier of parts and pre-assembling products for the Carl Zeiss factories in Jena the company continuously developed over the following years to become a producer of the best precision-engineered optical consumer goods and industrial products.  In the 50s and 60s the series production of the 35 mm camera "Werra" with over 1 million units took place. In the middle of the 60s the production of binoculars and Docter Riflescopes was transferred from Jena to Eisfeld, and the production of optical analytical instruments commenced.

From the middle of the 70s new developments in optics again became a focus. The binoculars models like 8x32 and 10x40 with in-line optics also originated at this time. However, the excellent telescopes NOBILEM 8x50 and 12x50 with first-class optical performance were only produced for a short time due to the huge efforts needed and the technical demands involved. In the middle of the 80s these binoculars were replaced by models of the same name, which were the results of extensive concept studies. This model series have step by step been complemented by further models and variants and has been redesigned over the recent years.

The strengthening of the production capacity for binoculars and analytical instruments in the 1980s led to the development of new generations of opto-electronic instruments and the extension of the range of binoculars and riflescopes by new developments. At the same time, the position of being the biggest manufacturer of binoculars in Europe could be consolidated. Approximately 1100 employees worked at Eisfeld and about 300,000 binoculars and Docter rifle scopes were produced each year.

On August 1st 1991 the Eisfeld plant of the Jenoptik Carl Zeiss Jena GmbH, which employed over 500 people, was taken over by Bernhard Docter, who lent his name to the company and products. The company now traded under the name DOCTER-OPTIC-EISFELD GmbH and continued with the production of binoculars, rifle scopes, spotting scope, magnifying glasses and opto-electronic measurement equipment, which was rich in tradition.

As an acknowledged producer of bright-molded aspheric lenses, it was an important aim of the company's strategy to make progress in the use of aspheric lenses in imaging optics. This was first effected with the eyepieces of the telescopic sight 8x56 and the NOTAREM-binoculars with in-line optics. Having overcome initial difficulties, the process of bright molding was optimized to such an extent that the quality required for series production was achieved. Larger numbers of aspheric lenses were incorporated into the newly created product category "Flash Lights". Here it was particularly the battery driven compact flash lights which were paid attention.

Overall a strong expansion of the product range took place, particularly so for rifle scopes, which have been complemented by devices with illuminated reticles in the recent past. In many places the finish has been visibly improved. It is also worth mentioning that considerable construction and technological efforts have been made to ensure and continuously improve the product quality.

The advances made in the field of visual observation and sight devices over the recent years can be seen in:

  • the introduction of centered reticles for Docter Rifle-Scopes
  • the establishing of riflescopes with variable magnification as standard models
  • the general use of eyepieces for persons wearing glasses for all new binoculars
  • the improvements in the modeling of optical systems by using complex, highly optimized software with cleverly thought-out algorithms, which for 10 years have also been available for PCs
  • the employment of CAD in the construction of devices and of mathematical modeling in the development process
  • the advances in the coating technology with the introduction of broad band antireflection coatings and of phase correction layers on roof edge prisms
  • the use of bright-molded aspherics on a large scale in devices with first-class performance
  • the improved resistance to environmental exposure (rubber coating, water proof, nitrogen filling, lead-free glasses)
  • creation of new device features, such as integrated compasses in binoculars, illuminated reticles and parallax compensation for rifle scopes or completely new product groups such as compact reflex sights.

On November 15th 1995 the company DOCTER-Optic in Wetzlar declared bankruptcy for the whole business. Under the chairmanship of Dr Wellensieck the company went into receivership, with the major part of the company subsequently being sold to a company consortium consisting of Bosch and Hella under the management of Rodenstock. The Eisfeld plant with its 230 employees remained operative under insolvency conditions, while potential buyers were sought. During all this time the "Big Solution" was the focus of attention, a scenario where the company would be sold as a whole. In total, talks were held with more than 30 interested parties. A bill of sale was agreed with the American company MMTI, but this never became legally valid, since no payment was made. Following further unsuccessful endeavors by the insolvency managers, the closure of the plant in Eisfeld was announced on April 15th 1997.

On May 1st 1997 a part of the business with 40 staff was continued by ANALYTIK JENA GmbH, to which traditionally good relations existed. Already the first year after the takeover was completed with very good turnover and results. Due to the committed work of the Marketing and Sales Departments the order books were filled well, and the majority of the specialist and industrial partners, that had been made uncertain by the turmoil surrounding the DOCTER works, could be won back. Meanwhile the number of employees at Eisfeld had grown again to number 88.

Particular attention in the DOCTER product range is still paid to a high quality level, a good price-performance ratio, perfect usefulness for the customer and balanced design. Of course, innovation in the products from Eisfeld is driven forward by synergetic effects that have now become possible. The aim is to match the variety of models of DOCTER binoculars better to their applications. The riflescopes for hunters which are in high demand are equipped with modern, efficient optics, which guarantee safe handling and a high precision.

It remains to be emphasized that an important optical company in Thuringia was saved by a courageous entrepreneurial decision and the extremely high motivation of its employees, and that jobs have been secured on a long term basis. A competitive and innovative German optics manufacturer have redefined themselves for the market and will continue to surprise their clients with innovative products "Made in Germany". With the transformation to a share holding company on June 2nd 1999 and the entry to the stock market on July 3rd 2000, the course is set for rapid economical growth.