The KOH-I-NOOR HARDTMUTH Company was established by Joseph Hardtmuth in 1790, in the town of Ceske Budejovice (Czech republic). They originally produced stoneware and building materials.
Joseph Hardtmuth was a gifted inventor. In those days, drawing tools were handmade and therefore very expensive and poorly available, usually made from a single piece of graphite. Hardtmuth combined his knowledge and technologies used in building materials manufacturing and developed a pencil lead based on a mixture of clay and ground graphite along with, a revolutionary technology for series production. The basis of this technology is still used by pencil lead manufacturers worldwide.
Over time, manufacture of pencil leads and pencils became more important than the production of stoneware and building materials and a completely new factory was built in 1848.
Their first graphite pencils were initially produced in 19 grades under sequence number 1500 and because they were a shiny yellow, they were named KOH-I-NOOR after the famous yellow diamond. Immediately after production was launched this 1500 pencil became a worldwide sales success and is still made today as standard in 20 grades under the same identification and name. The lead grading system was conceived using the letters H, B and F – the first letters of the names Hardtmuth, Budějovice (Budweis) and Franz. This grade identification system was also adopted worldwide but today no one knows where it originated from.
What we like about the KOH-I-NOOR HARDTMUTH range: heritage brand that offers a huge selection of high quality European art supplies with a nostalgic look and feel that we find irresistible.
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