Faber (Family) - Encyclopedia

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FABER, the name of a family of German lead-pencil manufacturers. Their business was founded in 1760 at Stein, near Nuremberg, by Kaspar Faber (d. 1784). It was then inherited by his son Anton Wilhelm (d. 1819). Georg Leonhard Faber succeeded in 1810 (d. 1839), and the business passed to Johann Lothar von Faber (1817-1896), the great-grandson of the founder. At the time of his assuming control about twenty hands were employed, under old-fashioned conditions, and owing to the invention of the French crayons Conies of Nicolas Jacques Conte competition had reduced the entire Nuremberg industry to a low ebb (see Pencil). Johann introduced improvements in machinery and methods, brought his factory to the highest state of efficiency, and it became a model for all the other German and Austrian manufacturers. He established branches in New York, Paris, London and Berlin, and agencies in Vienna, St Petersburg and Hamburg, and made his greatest coup in 1856, when he contracted for the exclusive control of the graphite obtained from the East Siberian mines. Faber had also branched out into the manufacture of water-colour and oil paints, inks, slates and slate-pencils, and engineers' and architects' drawing instruments, and built additional factories to house his various industries at New York and at Noisy-le-Sec, near Paris, and had his own cedar mills in Florida. For his services to German industry he received a patent of nobility and an appointment as councillor of state. After the death of his widow (1903) the business was inherited by his grand-daughter Countess Otilie von Faber-Castell and her husband, Count Alexander.

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