Founded in the 18th century, Czech company KOH-I-NOOR HARDTMUTH is one of the oldest manufacturers of art, school, stationery and leisure supplies. But her pencils are especially famous.
The company was founded in 1790 in Vienna by Austrian Josef Hardtmuth. At first, she was engaged in the production of ceramics and faience. The company got its name in honor of the unique Indian diamond Kohinoor, found back in 56 BC, the mass of which (before the first cut) was 600 carats.
Josef Hardtmuth also became famous as the inventor of a new technology for the production of pencil leads - a mixture of clay, crushed graphite and several other components. He patented his invention in 1802. In 1808, Hardmuth built another plant in Vienna, this time for the production of pencils. In 1848 the production of graphite rods was transferred to České Budějovice. In 1870, the company's management decided to completely switch to the production of pencils, abandoning ceramics.
The company lived through the world wars relatively painlessly, although production had to be significantly reduced. Gradually KOH-I-NOOR HARDTMUTH expands its range, starting to produce artistic crayons (1895), erasers (1905) and fountain pens (1956). Today, the assortment of the company is represented by more than 4500 items of stationery.
Trademark "KOH-I-NOOR" was registered on November 12, 1894 - one of the first trademarks in the Czech Republic. Since September 30, 1935, a graphic brand name has appeared - "tape", which is used as an addition to the verbal brand name. There are also additional production brand names: VERSATIL (collet pencils), PROGRESSO (pencils without wood), MONDELUZ (watercolor pencils), GIOCONDA (products for artists) and many others.
In 1945, the company was nationalized and remained in state status until 1992, after which it was privatized and became a joint-stock company. In 1994, she joined Gama Group (it also includes companies Gama, Grafo и Kovopol). In 1999, there was a complete restructuring of production and sales. Appears KOH-I-NOOR HOLDING A/O.
Today, in addition to KOH-I-NOOR HARDTMUTH AS, in the structure of the parent company KOH-I-NOOR HOLDING A/O includes many subsidiaries whose purpose is to trade in various countries (KOH-I-NOOR HARDTMUTH AUSTRIA, KOH-I-NOOR HARDTMUTH ROMANIA, KOH-I-NOOR TOMSK…). In 2007, the company acquires a Bulgarian manufacturer of felt-tip pens HEMUSMARK, resulting in the appearance KOH-I-NOOR HARDTMUTH HEMUS. In the same year, a tool factory was also acquired. PONAS, after which it forms KOH-I-NOOR HARDTMUTH PONAS. The most famous subsidiary of the company is founded in 1957 Bohemia Works.