Georg Leonhard continued to operate the company in what were difficult times, politically and economically, but was unable to prevent a fall-off in business. His pencils were still produced using conventional methods, even though a new process for making the leads had been discovered in France. He was also unable to compete with the “rare English pencils” made from finest Cumberland graphite.
However, he realized that foreign experience was decisive for the future of his company, and so he sent his sons Lothar and Johann abroad. And it was in the progressive cities of London and Paris that the eldest son Lothar developed the ideas that within a few years were to raise the factory in Stein to the ranks of an international company.