History

Historical Milestones

Kaspar Faber (1730 - 1784)

Pencil-makers were first recorded in the imperial city of Nuremberg around the year 1660. Numerous craftsmen also set up shop in the surrounding villages, but especially in Stein, just within the Marquisate of Ansbach. Here artisans were not subject to the same strict controls as in Nuremberg, so they had a competitive advantage.

One of them was the cabinet-maker Kaspar Faber. At first he worked for local traders, but in his spare time he produced pencils on his own account. Soon he became so successful that in 1761 he was able to set up his own business. From these humble beginnings it was to develop into a company known all over the world.

 

Lothar von Faber

Lothar von Faber (1817-1896)

In 1839 Lothar Faber became head of the company. With a strong will he followed an ambitious goal: “to rise to the highest position by making the best that can be made anywhere in the world”.

He modernized the production plant and secured first-class raw material from a graphite mine in Siberia. He not only invented the hexagonal pencil but also laid down standards for length, thickness and hardness. He was also the first manufacturer to mark his products with the name of the company. His pencils thus became not just the first brand name writing implements, but were among the earliest branded articles in the world.

In 1849, he opened a branch office in New York. Subsidiaries in London, Paris, Vienna and St. Petersburg followed.

Countess Ottilie von Faber-Castell

Ottilie von Faber (1877–1944)

In 1898, Lothar von Faber's heiress, Baroness Ottilie von Faber, was married to Count Alexander zu Castell-Rüdenhausen, a scion of one of Germany’s oldest aristocratic families.

As to retain the familiar company identity, Lothar von Faber had stipulated in his will that if his heiress marry then she must keep the family name. In those days that was a most unusual step, requiring royal approval. But it is the reason why Alexander and Ottilie were known not as “Count and Countess zu Castell-Rüdenhausen” but as Count and Countess von Faber-Castell.

This is how the family name Faber-Castell came about, a name that was also applied to the business and the brand.

Count Alexander von Faber-Castell

Count Alexander von Faber-Castell (1866–1928)

In 1900, Count Alexander zu Castell-Rüdenhausen joined the board of management which he finally headed in 1903.

That same year the foundation stone for the grand “New Castle” was laid ‒ a unique monument in the Jugendstil (German art nouveau style).

The company flourished anew under Count Alexander. He gave it a more modern and unmistakable image, with the famous green “Castell 9000” pencil and the jousting knights logo.

Count Roland von Faber-Castell

Count Roland von Faber-Castell (1905-1978)

On the death of Count Alexander in 1928 his young son Roland became head of the company. In 1932 Faber-Castell took over the Johann Faber pencil factory (founded by Lothar von Faber’s brother in 1879) and with it the Brazilian subsidiary Lapis Johann Faber. In 1950 Faber-Castell acquired the Osmia company and started manufacturing fountain pens under its own name; production ceased in 1975.

New foreign subsidiaries were founded between 1960 and 1977 for instance in France, Austria, Australia, Argentina and Peru.

In 1967 Count Roland was able to buy back a majority share in Lapis Johann Faber S.A. in São Carlos, which had been confiscated during the Second World War. It is now the largest pencil factory in the world.

Count Anton Wolfgang von Faber-Castell

Count Anton Wolfgang von Faber-Castell (1941-2016)

Count Anton Wolfgang von Faber-Castell became head of the company in 1978 and the same year began producing wood-cased pencils for the cosmetic industry. He has been focusing strongly on international expansion, sustainable development and social responsibility.

In the two decades that followed, several new offices and factories were founded abroad, including what is now the world’s largest eraser factory, in Malaysia in 1980.

Environmental aspects have taken an increasingly prominent place in the corporate way of thinking, with a unique forestry project in Brazil (producing the slats for many millions of wood-cased pencils), the development of environment-friendly water-based paint technology, and a new production plant in Costa Rica for slats and pencils made of certified ecological timber.

In 1993 Faber-Castell undertook a logical restructuring of its corporate and brand image, dividing the assortment of products into five fields of competence. In March 2000, Faber-Castell and the IG-Metall trade union jointly signed a “social charter” with international validity, in accordance with the guidelines of the International Labour Organization (ILO). In July 2003 Faber-Castell joined the United Nations’ “Global Compact”, which strives for common business values throughout the world.