Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Armed with the Best!

Generally, when a company has been around for over 200 years, you can bet it offers something special, provides incredible service, standing by its product, developing possible quality extensions to its inventory. Such is the story of Faber-Castell, the internationally-known pen and pencil company, established in 1761.

Recently, my employer asked me to send in his Faber-Castell pen for service and repair. He has had it a long time, and it needed some work. I called the firm, and they explained how to send it, the turn-around time, and there was no charge for making it again as good as new. Upon its return, it came in a lovely box, with a beautiful brochure of new merchandise. Quite enticing! I noticed the box said “since 1761”, and my eye caught the charming logo: two knights jousing with pencils! I had to look into this!

And so……………the founder was Kaspar Faber (1730 - 1784), who set up a shop in Stein, near Nuremberg, Germany. He was originally a cabinet maker, but in his spare time, he produced pencils. Doing it for himself, he soon had others asking for them, and started his own business. Upon his death, his son Anton took over, and bought some land outside of Stein in order to set up a manufacturing plant. Industrious! At the age of 51, he handed over the business to his son Georg and so it goes. The company has been in continual production since 1761, and have expanded their line to also include colored pencils, watercolor pencils, pastels, graphite, charcoals, erasers and crayons. Everything that the artist would need, as well the classic items that every business person would want.

The company was solely owned by the Faber family until the 1800’s when Ottilie von Faber, heir to the business, married Count Alexander zu Castell-Rudenhausen. The Count developed a new range of pencils, calling them Castell, and to distinguish them from the Faber originals, he had them painted “green”. Every artist or art student knows that green instrument!

The Count also commissioned a painting of two knights with their pencil weaponry as an advertising motif, a clever symbol, indeed! What soldier, knight, or businessman would go into battle without the best!

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