Faber Castell: The Road to Success

Faber Castell is a name we all likely know or have at least heard of. It is one of the biggest and oldest manufacturing companies of pens, pencils and various other supplies like staplers, rulers, and erasers. Their high-quality drawing materials make them a fan favourite amongst artists, illustrators, designers, and architects all over the world. This well renowned brand is currently headquarters in Germany and operates a total of 14 factories and 20 sales units across the globe. It houses jobs for over 8,000 employees and has traded with more than 120 countries, manufacturing around 2 billion pencils every single year. So as such a notable name in the art community, I’m sure you are all wondering, where did they come from?

Well, once upon a time, in a land far away… well not so far away, as it all started in a place called Stein, a little German village on the outskirts of Nuremberg. In this village a 31-year-old carpenter by the name of Kasper Faber began producing pencils in the ripe old year of 1761 and he named the enterprise A. W. Faber Company. Little did he know, he was commencing the long lived and respected dynasty of Faber Castell. At the time, the areas surrounding Nuremberg were bustling with pencil manufacturing potential, but Faber’s business venture was particularly well timed as it was just before Germany’s emancipation of the serfs (an agricultural labourer who is bound by outdated laws). Thus, this emancipation would see rapid growth in land and business ownership for the lower class, which meant the demand for writing utensils was higher than ever. Faber also began his pencil makings during the early days of the German enlightenment period, with authors, musicians and philosophers paving a way for new thinkers. And what did all these creators need? Why pencils, of course.

But Kasper Faber, did not just produce your bog-standard graphite pencil. He had his sights set higher. He began experimenting with various materials, with the intent of solving the crumbling and breakable qualities that pure graphite has. And his hard work paid off, as through his experiments, he found a solution by grinding the graphite and reforming the core with sulphur and resin. With this adaptation, the graphite he produced was far less prone to breakage and this is a quality that has been passed through the Faber Castell generations. And so, the little company began to grow, going on to open branches in New York in 1849, London in 1851, Paris in 1855, Vienna in 1872 and St. Petersburg in 1874. And this was just the beginning. All the while, this business stayed in the Faber family, being passed down from generation to generation, remaining under the original branding. Until the year of 1900 when the Faber name changed slightly. After the marriage of Johann Lothar Freiherr von Faber’s granddaughter to a count of Castell, the A. W. Faber enterprise took on the new name Faber-Castell from the union.

And thus, the Faber-Castell company has remained in the Faber lineage for eight generations and is still owned by descendants even now. Today, four siblings; Count Charles von Faber-Castell, Countess Katharina von Faber-Castell, Countess Victoria von Faber-Castell and Countess Sarah von Faber-Castell, all represent the ninth generation of the family business. And they continue the great legacy of Kaspar in his pencil making endeavours (and now far more expansive art supply options), maintaining the highest-quality and global success of their predecessors.

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