L&C Hardtmuth 1790 - 1946
- Vienna, Wien, Austria
In 1790, Joesef Hardtmuth founded the family firm of L&C Hardtmuth, in Vienna. The company later relocated to the Bohemia Works factory at Ceske Budejovice in the Czech Republic. While Hardmuth's primary manufacturing operations remained in Ceske Budejovice, the company expanded in a multinational push between the two world wars, opening Koh-I-Noor Pencil Company in New Jersey in 1919, had a joint venture factory with Johann Faber in Romania and in 1931 established a facility in Krakow, Poland as part of new trust combination with Johann Faber and A.W. Faber-Castell.
Following World War II the company was broken up and the Czech, Romanian and Polish operations were nationalized while the Austrian company remained under private ownership. The US based Koh-I-Noor operations (of Rapidiograph fame) ended up as part of a separate group that was later owned by Rotring in Germany and was eventually acquired by Newell Rubbermaid in the 1990s.
Eventually the Austrian company fell on hard times and went through bankruptcy and found new owners. This company was reorganized and operates today as Bleistfabrik Hirm-Cretacolor.