Koh-I-Noor ®

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About Koh-I-Noor


Developed by Joseph Hardtmuth in 1790, the Hardtmuth drawing pencil was made by blending clay, graphite powder, soot, and an organic binder. It was the very first of its kind. A true innovator and entrepreneur, Joseph Hardtmuth patented his process for producing writing and drawing instruments of the highest quality.

One hundred years later, these writing instruments caught the attention of HRH Queen Victoria, who gave the Koh-I-Noor pencil its name. Her inspiration was the Koh-I-Noor diamond, a gift received from India to add to the British royal collection.

The company expanded in 1890 and established a branch in Bloomsbury, New Jersey. With World War II came the division of Koh-I-Noor North America and Koh-I-Noor Europe, and the two companies began to develop different art materials. Koh-I-Noor Europe manufactured fine art materials such as pencils, paints, and office and school supplies — and Koh-I-Noor USA developed some of the finest technical drawing supplies on the market.

In 1999, Steven W. Roth, president of Chartpak Inc., acquired Koh-I-Noor North America — famous for its world-renowned Rapidograph technical pens, and partnered once again with Koh-I-Noor Europe and the Breeza family to bring a cohesive line of professional drawing materials to the USA, Canada, and South America.

The Koh-I-Noor line of drawing pencils has expanded from the classic graphite pencil to more than 20 degrees of graphite, colored and aquarelle pencils, pastels, blocks, watercolors, and a variety of drawing accessories, including technical pens, mechanical pencils, inks, and more.