Marga Faulstich

Marga Faulstich (1915-1998): The glassmaker

Marga Faulstich carried out research for the Schott company for over four decades. She developed lightweight spectacle lenses as well as numerous optical glasses for telescopes and microscopes.

Whoever opened the Internet search engine Google on June 16, 2018 saw in the doodle - the varied Google logo - a dark-haired woman, surrounded by laboratory equipment and glass vessels, looking through two different-colored round glasses. With the illustration, the US company remembered the glass researcher Marga Faulstich, who would have turned 103 that day (see above).

Born on June 16, 1915 in Weimar, Faulstich moved to Jena with her family in 1922. There she attended the Realgymnasium, which she graduated with the Abitur. In 1935 she began training as a research assistant at the Jena glassworks Schott. The company was one of the leading European manufacturers of optical and technical special glasses.

In her early years at Schott, Faulstich dealt with thin glass coatings. In 1939 the research group in which she was involved submitted a patent that has served as the basis for the manufacture of sunglasses, anti-reflective glasses and glass facades ever since. Another 40 patents used worldwide, with Faulstich's participation, followed in the course of time.

Faulstich quickly made a Career at Schott: She went from being a research assistant to a laboratory assistant, then to a research assistant and finally to an independent researcher. After the death of her fiancé during the Second World War, she devoted herself exclusively to professional life. In addition to her work at Schott, she began studying chemistry at the Friedrich Schiller University in Jena in 1942. In the turmoil of the war, however, she did not succeed in completing her studies with an exam.

After the Second World War, Jena, famous worldwide for its progressive glassmaking art, belonged to the Soviet zone of occupation. Because the western allies wanted to benefit from the accumulated knowledge and skills of the glass industry, they brought 41 specialists and executives, including Faulstich, to the American occupation zone. A provisional research laboratory was established in Landshut, Bavaria, as early as 1949.

After the expropriation of the Schott factory in Jena in 1948 and the division of Germany in the following year, the entrepreneur Erich Schott (1891-1989) negotiated with the city of Mainz about relocating the glassworks on the site of a former slaughterhouse. In May 1952, a new Schott factory started production there.

Faulstich became the first female manager at Schott in Mainz. She researched and developed new glasses, especially special glasses for microscopes and telescopes, and in addition to her research work, she was in charge of a crucible melt shop for 16 years. She earned international recognition for her invention of the lightweight heavy flint 64 (SF 64) spectacle lens. Instead of the heavy metal lead, it contains titanium and therefore weighs significantly less. The American Industrial Research Incorporation counted SF 64 among the hundred most important innovations of 1973 and awarded Faulstich the Industrial Research 100 medal for it. In total, over 300 types of optical glasses can be traced back to the inventiveness of this remarkable researcher.

After 44 years in the service of Schott, Marga Faulstich retired in 1979. She died in Mainz on February 1, 1998 at the age of 82.


Schott Glaswerke (editor): From Jena to Mainz - and back. Schott history between the Cold War and German reunification, Mainz, 1995

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The texts published in this series do not claim to be scientific publications. Authors and other people involved are not experts in the history of science. The purpose of the series is to introduce the mostly unknown women chemists and to remind you of the well-known women chemists. We encourage readers who want to know more to study academic Literature on the women featured. In some cases there are detailed chemical-historical works.

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last modified: 10.05.2021 16:19 H from K.J.Schmitz