The ancient city of Nuremberg, steeped in medieval and Nazi history, is home to a cluster of fiercely competitive pen and pencil manufacturers whose survival is driven by innovation.
Staedtler and Faber-Castell are both part of the Mittelstand, the backbone of German industry, made up of thousands of small and medium-sized companies. Privately-owned, many are still family businesses after several generations.
Ancient ‘pencil war’
Staedtler celebrated its 175th anniversary in 2010, while Faber-Castell will celebrate its 250th birthday in summer 2011.
But despite this, the two companies have argued about which company can rightfully claim to be the oldest, a “pencil war” that ended up in court in the 1990s.