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  • Writer's pictureKOH-I-NOOR HARDTMUTH

The story of iconic KOH-I-NOOR graphite pencils

Nowadays, a pencil is a very common everyday item that can be bought practically everywhere.

But this story has been written in KOH-I-NOOR HARDTMUTH for more than 230 years. Join us in this article as we follow the Hardtmuth family who literally invented a gem among pencils.

Thanks to the Hardtmuth family's efforts to transform ugly, impractical and expensive drawing tools into a pencil that would serve its user faithfully, the KOH-I-NOOR has over time become an iconic product around the world.

No other competing product can boast so many prestigious awards from world exhibitions as the KOH-I-NOOR pencil. It got its name from the world's largest diamond, which is now part of the British Crown Jewels.

Do you know?

  • By introducing original technologies and modernising the production of wooden pencils, the Hardtmuth family literally started a pencil revolution.

  • The company was also at the origin of mechanical pencils, contributed to the improvement of rubber production and many other unique inventions.

  • The unique gradation system invented by Franz Hardtmuth is still in use around the world today.

  • 500,000 pencils are produced daily at KOH-I-NOOR.

  • For many unique products, the same technological processes have remained the same for decades.

In addition to inventing the perfect pencil that the whole world knows today, the family also contributed to the technological innovation of modern pencil production in the 1980s, with Franz Hardtmuth leading the development with a team of experienced chemists. Another interesting fact is that Franz introduced the 21-degree gradation marking system for graphite cores which is still used by most pencil manufacturers around the world.

He defined a total of 8 types of soft and hard pencils, two medium hard and one type for natural graphite. He marked the soft ones from B to 8B, with 8B being the softest and the 9B mark is for natural graphite.

The marks of soft gradations were based on the same principle as for hard gradations, just with the letter H. Later, a number of gradations H - H8 were extended by H9 and H10.

The middle type was called HB and it was a combination of the two previous types of pencils. A special gradation had a stenographic pencil, which was used, for example, for meeting minutes and was marked with the letter F.

According to the personal notes of Franz Hardtmuth, the marking of pencils using the letter H originates from the family surname Hardtmuth, B means Budweis, or Budějovice in Czech language, and F refers to his first name Franz.

And what about the iconic 1500 pencil?

The pencil marked 1500 was Franz's biggest marketing move. By the second half of the 1980s, he had completed the process of modernizing the production of wooden pencils using single-purpose machines and completed the process of modernizing the production of graphite pencils. Thanks to this, he was able to mass-produce 17 different gradations of precisely defined parameters.

He named the iconic pencil wrapped in yellow lacquer the number 1500, which was the serial number of a series of pencils, but mainly after the yellow KOH-I-NOOR diamond.

In 1888, he launched the 1500 pencil in an unprecedented way. He did not first offer a lower price, which he could subsequently increase, but he set a price almost 3 times higher than other sellers. This tactic worked well in the marketplace and this yellow diamond gained worldwide fame in a very short time.

Graphite pencil is still produced in the same form today and it is one of the most

reliable and best-selling drawing media.

It withstands conditions under which other stationery can no longer fulfill its function. It doesn't mind the heat as long as it doesn't burn, it doesn't mind the cold, and perhaps it would write even at an absolute zero temperature. It is ecological because it is made of natural materials and is easily returned to nature, and most importantly, it makes thousands of creative souls around the world happy.

More on our shop:

In our assortment we divide pencils into several categories, according to their use. In our e-shop you will find a category of pencils suitable for experienced draughtsmen, carpenters, but also for all schoolchildren. You should not miss the iconic pencils 1500, pencils 1900 or Progresso pencils.

All other types of pencils, such as the MAGIC collection with tri-colour core, can be found in the special pencils section.



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