Lothar Faber elevated to peerage
Over the years, Lothar Faber received numerous medals and awards in recognition of his outstanding social and economic services to the community. In 1862, King Maximilian II of Bavaria bestowed on him a life peerage, and three years later appointed him councillor to the Bavarian crown. The French emperor Napoleon III sent a commission to Stein in 1867 to inspect the establishments for the welfare of the Faber workers, which were considered exemplary. The delegates were so impressed that the emperor created Lothar von Faber a chevalier (knight) of the Légion d’Honneur. In 1881 he was raised to the hereditary peerage.
Protection of proprietary rights
Lothar von Faber marked his quality products with the name of his company, at a time when that was by no means standard practice. Soon, however, many inferior pencils appeared on the market with the A.W. Faber lettering, so that Lothar found himself compelled to take legal steps against these cheap imitations. In his capacity as royal councillor he submitted a petition for the passing of a law to protect proprietary rights. That came into force in 1875.
Lothar von Faber always placed very high importance on an exclusive presentation of his quality products. He designed and equipped his sales rooms and display windows with great attention to detail, sparing neither effort nor expense. This presentation chest has several drawers and is elaborately decorated with inlays and cast figures. The two cherubs at the ends are engaged in writing and pencil-sharpening.
The “Faber house” in Berlin
After the German Empire was established in 1871, Berlin had grown to an important capital city. A.W. Faber also had a presence there, and on “Empire Day” in 1884 it opened smart business premises on the elegant Friedrichstrasse. The ground floor housed a generously proportioned shop, while upstairs were the storeroom and offices for the manager and his staff. This “Faber house” was famous, but sadly was destroyed in the bombing of Berlin during the Second World War.
The "New Castle"
Next to the manor house built by Lothar von Faber, Ottilie and Alexander von Faber-Castell commissioned a grand new house to a design by the Nuremberg architect Theodor von Kramer. They wanted the façade to look like a castle – symbolizing the name Castell. The interiors, on the other hand, reflected the spirit of the time and are still an outstanding example of superior Jugendstil (art nouveau) architecture. Three rooms in the ‘castle’ were designed by Bruno Paul. The bathrooms are a model of luxury and were equipped with the most modern technical features then available.
The 150th anniversary was celebrated in 1911. A modern production complex with light and airy rooms now provided excellent working conditions. The number of employees had more than doubled since 1904: the company now had 2000 workers and 200 members of technical and financial staff, supplying roughly 100 000 regular customers all over the world.
Foreign operations were confiscated
The First World War did considerable harm to the German economy; Faber-Castell was among the companies that suffered serious losses. Several foreign operations were confiscated; the American subsidiaries were sold off after the armistice. It was to be many years before A.W. Faber-Castell (the former A.W. Faber) was able to set foot in North America again: not until 1994 did the company succeed in re-acquiring the brand-name rights for the USA and Canada.
Products designed for children and with attractive packaging were important to Lothar von Faber. Count Roland von Faber-Castell continued the tradition and marketed a series of boxes of pencils decorated with couples in folk costume, animals, elves, Easter bunnies, and Santa Claus. This colourful packaging still gladdens the hearts of children and their parents.
The ball pen
After the war the ball-point pen became increasingly popular and represented serious competition for the fountain pen. A.W. Faber-Castell was the first German manufacturer to include ball pens in its range, advertising them with a series of colourful contemporary images.
A new logo
After the war the jousting knights were considered old-fashioned, so the company logo was changed. The cartouche with the company name, surmounted by the castle, was distinctive and in line with the taste of the times, so marked the start of a new era. It was not until 1993 that the knight symbol was reinstated.
The immediate post-war years were grey and uninspiring, but luckily people soon rediscovered the joys of life; they developed a taste for travel and loved pictures of foreign countries. Italy was particularly popular with German holidaymakers: thousands of VW Beetles packed with happy children would chug across the border on their way to sunny beaches.
200 years of A.W. Faber-Castell
In 1961 the company celebrated its bicentenary with 3000 current and former employees, and with invited guests from all over the world. The civil defence corps of the island of Reichenau on Lake Constance came in historic uniforms to demonstrate their good relations with the factory in Konstanz. The people of Stein also took part; a school holiday was declared and the children enjoyed watching the colourful procession.