Josef Rodenstock founded the company 1877 with the first fine-mechanical workshop in Wuerzburg, Germany. Nobody could suspect at that time that he would become the founder of a well known world-wide optical company. By 1891 120 employees worked for the company. They produced eyeglasses and binoculars, microscopes, telescopes etc. also numerous cameras and photo lenses.
For over 120 years the production of lenses was a key business of the Optischen Werke G. Rodenstock. With the sale of the Precision Optics division, to which the Photo Optics belonged from the 1960s, the history of "Rodenstock photo lenses" was intimately connected with the history of the Optischen Werke G. Rodenstock.