It was founded in Geneva in 1915 when Arnold Schweitzer purchased the Ecridor Pencil Factory. Schweitzer named his new company after Caran d'Ache, the nickname of a French satiric political cartoonist (who in turn took his name from карандаш (karandash), the Russian word for pencil). Why Caran d’Ache? Because a leading artist of the time was a Russian, Emmanuel Poiré, and in his native tongue “Karandash” means a pencil. It is possible that neither he nor Arnold Schweitzer knew the true origins of the word and they would be delighted to know that it comes from the Turkish “kara tash” meaning “black stone” the natural pigment that makes marks. It is graphite, the material that helped to develop drawing and writing and is so valuable for artists and for Caran d’Ache pencils.In 1929, Carl Schmid invented the Fixpencil, one of the first Clutch Pencils which has been trademarked by Caran d'Ache.
In 2012, Caran d'Ache changed distributors from Letts Filofax Group Ltd to Victorinox AG.