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Faber-Castell AG
Joint stock company
Founded1761; 258 years ago (1761)
FounderKaspar Faber
Area served
Key people
Anton Wolfgang Graf von Faber-Castell (CEO),
ProductsArt materials, Writing instruments
Revenue 887 million (2005)
Number of employees
6,500 (2006)

Faber-Castell is one of the world's largest and oldest manufacturers of pens, pencils, other office supplies (e.g., staplers, slide rules, erasers, rulers)[1] and art supplies,[2] as well as high-end writing instruments and luxury leather goods. Headquartered in Stein, Germany, it operates 14 factories and 20 sales units throughout the globe. The Faber-Castell Group employs a staff of approximately 7,000 and does business in more than 100 countries.[3] The House of Faber-Castell is the family which founded and continues to exercise leadership within the corporation. They manufacture about 2 billion pencils in 120 different colors every year.[4]


There are about 14 manufacturing plants (in 10 countries) which mainly manufacture writing instruments.[5]

Countries Plant Name Year Incorporated Products Manufactured
Costa Rica Neily 1996 Wooden pencils & color pencils
Peru Lima 1965 Ballpoint pens, Marker pens & fiber tips
Colombia Bogota 1976 Wax crayons & drawing accessories
Brazil Prata 1989 Nurseries for pine trees and sawmill
India Goa 1998 Wax crayons, marker pens, text liners, erasers, fiber-tip pens
Austria Engelhartszell 1963 Ink & text liners
Malaysia Kuala Lumpur 1978 Research & Development, Sales, erasers productions, ballpoint pens
China Guangzhou 2000 Sharpeners, erasers and writing instruments from plastic material
Indonesia Bekasi 1990 Wood case colored pencils and graphite pencils
Germany Stein 1761 Research & Development, Marketing & Sales, Productions of premium writing instruments


Geroldsgrün, Faber-Castell works

Faber-Castell was founded in 1761 at Stein near Nuremberg by cabinet maker Kaspar Faber (1730–84) as the A.W. Faber Company, and has remained in the Faber family for eight generations It opened branches in New York (1849), London (1851), Paris (1855), and expanded to Vienna (1872) and St. Petersburg (1874). It opened a factory in Geroldsgrün where slide rules were produced. It expanded internationally and launched new products under Kaspar Faber's ambitious great-grandson, Lothar (1817–96).[6]

In 1900, after the marriage of Lothar's granddaughter with a count of Castell, the A.W. Faber enterprise took the name of Faber-Castell and a new logo, combining the Faber motto, Since 1761, with the "jousting knights" of the Castells' coat-of-arms.[7] A.W. Faber is the oldest brand-name pencil continuously sold in the US since 1870.[4]

Today, the company operates 14 factories and 20 sales units, with six in Europe, four in Asia, three in North America, five in South America, and one each in Australia and New Zealand. The Faber-Castell Group employs a staff of approximately 7,000 and does business in more than 100 countries.[3]


Beginning in the 1850s Faber started to use graphite from Siberia and cedar wood from Florida to produce its pencils.[4]

Faber-Castell is well known for its brand of PITT Artist pens. The pens, used by comic and manga artists such as Adam Hughes,[8] emit an India ink that is both acid-free and archival, and comes in a variety of colors.

The following chart contains all the Faber-Castell product lines.[9]

Category Products
Professional Art and Graphic Pencils (graphite and color), pastels, charcoals, erasers, sharpeners
Kids & School Art and Graphic Pencils, watercolors, brushes, markers, crayons, modeling dough, oil pastels, papers, connector pens
Technical Drawing Mechanical pencils, refills
Pens Fountain pens, ballpoint pens, refills
Luxury Pens Fountain pens, ballpoint pen

From about 1880 to 1975 Faber-Castell was also one of the world's major manufacturers of slide rules, the best known of which was the 2/83N.



The immensely wealthy Lothar Faber was ennobled in 1861 and made Baron von Faber in the Kingdom of Bavaria in 1881.[6][10] The sons of his only son Wilhelm (1851–1893) (by his wife Bertha Faber {1856-1940}, daughter of Lothar's younger brother, Eberhard {1822-1879}, who had founded the New York branch of the company) having died young, a marriage for his granddaughter and heiress Ottilie was arranged with a scion of one of Germany's formerly ruling comital dynasties. Yet in the conservative German Empire of fin-de-siècle Europe, the marriage of a Faber into a family of the high nobility was regarded as too bold a leap upward socially. A morganatic marriage would have been required, and the Faber pencil works could not have remained in the hands of their descendants because trafficking in commerce was still considered an act of social derogation among members of the Hochadel.

Faber Castle at Stein near Nuremberg

To resolve this dilemma, the chosen groom, Count Alexander von Castell-Rüdenhausen (1866–1928) renounced his birth rank prior to the marriage. The Castell family had been Imperial counts in Franconia, known since the 11th century. When the Holy Roman Empire was dissolved under pressure from Napoleon I in 1806, the Castell lands were annexed by the Kingdom of Bavaria. Although deprived of sovereignty, in 1815 the Castells were mediatized, their rank with the reigning dynasties of Europe being formally recognized,[11] and family would be granted the hereditary title of Prince.[11]

Count Alexander, a younger son of the first prince, married the pencil heiress, Baroness Ottilie von Faber (1877–1944), in 1898.[11] He was granted the new hereditary title of Count von Faber-Castell in Bavaria for the descendants of their marriage.[11][12] Although Alexander and Ottilie divorced in 1918, the Faber business trust had transferred headship of the company to Alexander,[6] who even kept the Fabers' renovated palace at Stein (which would be commandeered to billet journalists during the Nuremberg trials, including Ernest Hemingway and John Steinbeck).[13]

In 1927 Alexander resumed his original name for himself, his second wife (born a countess, Margit Zedtwitz von Moravan und Duppau, 1886–1973), and their son, Count Radulf (1922–2004).[12] His issue by the first marriage had never been considered dynasts of the House of Castell, but they inherited the vast Faber fortune and continue to include Castell in their name with the comital title.[12]

Various branches of the family continued to flourish, but the Faber and Faber-Castell corporate holdings usually passed to the eldest male of the patrilineage.[6] Alexander and Ottilie's only son, Count Roland von Faber-Castell (1905–78), inherited headship of the Faber-Castell companies from his parents. His eldest son, Hubertus left the family business after a dispute with his father, and was succeeded by his younger brother, Anton-Wolfgang (1941-2016),[14] who left a son, Count Charles Alexander von Faber-Castell (born in Zürich 20 June 1980) of his 1986 marriage to Carla Mathilde Lamesch.[10] His widow, Mary Hogan (born 1951), continues as managing director of Faber-Castell’s cosmetics division.[15]

Anton-Wolfgang's niece, Countess Floria-Franziska von Faber-Castell (b. 1974) was married at Kronberg on 17 May 2003 in a much-publicised wedding attended by members of Europe's reigning families, to Donatus, Hereditary Prince of Hesse,[16] a great-grandson of King Victor Emmanuel III of Italy and a grand-nephew of Princess Sophie of Greece and Denmark, sister of Britain's prince consort Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. Floria is a daughter of Hubertus, Count Roland's firstborn son.[16]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Faber-Castell International. Office Products Archived 2009-12-16 at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ Faber-Castell International. Products for FineArts and Design Archived 2009-12-15 at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ a b Faber-Castell International. The company facts & figures Archived 2014-08-12 at Archive.today
  4. ^ a b c "Inside the oldest pencil company in the world". CNN. Retrieved February 18, 2019.
  5. ^ Müller, Nicole. "The international Faber-Castell Production Sites". Faber-Castell.
  6. ^ a b c d "History". Faber-Castell International. Retrieved February 18, 2019.
  7. ^ Faber-Castell International. The Company Logo Archived 2014-08-12 at Archive.today
  8. ^ Coulson, Steve. "Adam Hughes – Anatomy of a sketch, Pt3 – The Tools" YouTube; May 15, 2006, Accessed September 8, 2010
  9. ^ Faber Castell products Archived 2011-07-14 at the Wayback Machine
  10. ^ a b "At the Sharp End". The Economist. March 2007.
  11. ^ a b c d Almanach de Gotha. 1910. Perthes, p. 107, 109, 120–1. Deuxième Partie.
  12. ^ a b c Huberty, Michel; Giraud, Alain; Magdelaine, F.; B. (1991). L'Allemagne Dynastique, Tome VI. France: Laballery. pp. 308–311. ISBN 2-901138-06-3.
  13. ^ Faber-Castell International. The Faber-Castell Castle Archived 2014-08-12 at Archive.today
  14. ^ CEO Count Anton Wolfgang von Faber-Castell
  15. ^ "Countess Mary von Faber-Castell's passion for cosmetics". Options.
  16. ^ a b "Hessen-Prinz heiratet Faber-Castell-Gräfin". Stern. 18 May 2003.

External links[edit]