Thursday, January 20, 2022

History of colored pencils

Nuremberg, Germany was the birthplace of the first mass-produced pencils in 1662. Colored pencils were first produced in 1835 as a sideline of the graphite pencil industry. First colored pencils were used for “checking and marking”. Staedtler, German company owned by Johann Sebastian Staedtler invented colored oil pastel pencil in 1834.

A moderate range of 15-20 colors was manufactured in both America and Europe by the early 20th century.The pencils, however, were not highly pigmented and did not contain as much wax as today’s products, nor were they marketed for artistic use.

The first iteration of the color pencil was undertaken in 1761, when a small factory in Germany under the name Kasper Faber, began making color pencils. This small factory would end up becoming the world-famous Faber Castell company.

By 1924, colored pencils in over 60 colors were being sold for artistic use by A.W Faber; that same year Caran d’Ache, a leading manufacturer of artists’ colored pencils was founded in Switzerland, with Schwann Stabilo in Germany following a year later.

European pencils travelled with the first settlers to North America and they continued to be imported until after the American Revolution in the late 18th century. By 1812, the first American wooden pencils had been manufactured by William Munroe, a cabinet maker from Massachusetts.

In United States, American company Berol Prismacolors, advertised for their velvety texture and wide range of laboratory tested colors, were introduced in 1938. Other manufacturers that also made color pencils during the late 30s and early 40s were Derwent, Progresso, Lyra Rembrandt, and Blick Studio.

Today’s artists have at their disposal an enormous range of colored pencils to choose from, in both water and organic soluble varieties.
History of colored pencils

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