Established with a dedication to drawing and writing, many generations of creatives recognize Swiss brand Caran d’Ache as a constant provider of high-quality mediums. Let me give some insights in the history of the brand behind some of the most iconic creations in writing instruments as well as the colorful companions of the majority of Swiss kids from primary school up to college.
Founded in Geneva, Switzerland, Caran d’Ache began as a company that specialized in manufacturing graphite and colored pencils. At the time of their establishment in 1915, the company’s name was the Ecridor Pencil Factory. The company name did not change until 1924 when its new owner Arnold Schweitzer renamed it Caran d’Ache, as a tribute to Russian born, French satirical cartoonist Emmanuel Poire, who was known to create ‘stories without words.’ Caran d’Ache translates to pencil in Russian and plays on the Turkish word kara-tash, which references graphite or black stone. Fun fact, graphite is naturally found in the swiss mountains, which would make sense as to why Caran d’Ache may have perhaps initiated the manufacture of artistic materials that utilized this substance as a base material.
Strides into fountain pen manufacture
For those who appreciate fine writing, Caran d’Ache’s fountain pen line up offers a range of fabulous writing tools for every user. Fountain pens were not manufactured by Caran d’Ache until the 1970s beginning with the Madison. The Madison fountain pen has appeared in several finishes: some with lacquered bodies in colors like blue, black, or red, and some bodies are chiseled with gold plated overlay. At one time, the Madison fountain pen was manufactured completely from sterling silver. The Madison’s fine silhouette is a timeless pen choice for most pen aficionados.
As a nod to their past, Caran d’Ache created the Ecridor Heritage fountain pen which according to the company’s website merges the company’s ‘past, present, and future.’ The Ecridor Heritage plays on the notion of time with its geometric hexagon shape, which defies confining the pen to any specific era. Additional hexagonal shapes are etched into the barrel and cap, which create an echo of shapes that reverberate between the physical shape of the pen and the pen’s surface and provides writers with harmonious continuity. Symbolically the hexagonal forms acknowledge Geneva manufacturing symbols in a visual sense and ideally the unlimited possibilities that await writers.
A modern pen for all
The Leman fountain pen, currently manufactured for over 20 years, is a collection that comments on Lake Geneva’s natural beauty. Caran d’Ache expresses Lake Geneva’s splendor through various finishes, which include fine translucent lacquers and elaborate guilloche techniques. Each Leman fountain pen features a threaded cap that protects its stylish and dependable 18k gold nib. Writers will marvel with each writing session as their fingers enjoy the smooth silky feeling of the translucent lacquer applied on the brass cap and barrel. For pens that feature an intricate guilloche finish, writers will take note of the visually pleasing textures that imitate Lake Geneva’s moving waters.
Caran d’Ache justifiably displays Swiss Made on their products. This authorized specification implies that the company abides by strict quality control measures involved in manufacturing their products—from the raw materials used to create their various products all the way to the final packaging that contain the products. On fountain pens, the Swiss Made moniker is engraved on the cap ring to assure the writer that they are handling a genuine fine writing instrument.
For over a century, Caran d’Ache continuously embodies and inspires the creative spirits of artists and writers everywhere. Through various collaborations with notable designers including Paul Smith and India Mahdavi, and artist ambassadors, Caran d’Ache remains relatable to audiences who crave a unique writing and drawing experience. They have emerged as one of the premier manufacturers of fine writing instruments and writing essentials. Their reputation as a company with fresh perspectives is catapulted by their innovative approach to design and aesthetics.