Pencil

Koh-i-Noor Hardtmuth A.S.

Established 1790

Founded in 1790 by Joseph Hardtmuth, Koh-i-Noor Hardtmuth A.S. is a manufacturer of a full line of pencils, pens and art supplies. Josef Hardtmuth is the inventor of modern graphite pencil. Amazing is that the process of producing such pencils hasn’t changed since 1789. In 1802, Hardtmuth patented an artificial graphite pencil by mixing powdered graphite with clay, lowering the price and making the product more accessible for the masses. Launched in 1888, the iconic number 1500 pencil grew out to become the most popular pencil in the world.

At the 1889 World Fair in Paris, Hardtmuth rebranded its pencils as ‘Koh-i-Noor Hardtmuth’, named after the largest and most expensive diamond in the world. At a time most pencils were either painted in dark colours or not at all. The Koh-i-Noor, intended to be the world’s best and most expensive pencil, was yellow. Other companies went on to copy the yellow colour in order to have their pencils associated with this high-quality brand. Not all countries use yellow pencils. German and Brazilian pencils, for example, are often green, blue or black, based on the trademark colours of Faber-Castell, the oldest German stationery company which has plants in those countries. But without any doubt: yellow is a pencil’s platonic color.

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Heritage, design.
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© Koh-i-Noor Hardtmuth A.S., České Budějovice, Czech Republic

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