In 1870 the name A.W. Faber was officially entered in the United States Register of Companies, as the fifth name in the first ledger. Since the four companies ahead of it no longer exist, A.W. Faber is the oldest brand name in the USA. The name was later registered in Russia, The United Kingdom, Italy, France and Spain.


The story, a possible scenario:

One morning an official of the United States Patent and Trademark Office made his way down to the archive basement of the Herber Hoover building in Washington DC, his eyes still bleary with sleep. There in the archives he stumbled on an old leather-bound volumn, blew a layer of dust from the cover and read in gold letters "July 1870". Knowing a bit of history, he guessed it might be something valuable, and he was right: he had just found the original of the very first trademarks of the United States. Fifth in order on page 1 we read, in copperplate handwriting, the entry A.W. Faber on 9 August 1870 - the first US trademark protection law had come into effect just two weeks earlier. The applicant is listed as Eberhard Faber, head of the A.W. Faber branch in the USA. 


The discovery was made in 2002 and caused a minor sensation when it became public. It was a front-page item in the journal The Trademark Reporter for Jan./Feb. 2003. The news came as a surprise to Faber-Castell, too, and we decided to investigate further. There was a growing suspicion that we could be the oldest surviving company to have registered a trademark in the USA. Numerous attempts to find out what became of J.J Turner & Co., R.E. Danforth, J.H. Zeilin, and Dale Ross & Co., who occur before A.W. Faber in the register, led up blind alleys. Incidentally, it was little surprise that Eberhard Faber was so progressive. Just like his brother Lothar von Faber in far-off Bavaria, he was relentless in his fight against the numerous imitations of his products. Lothar was successful in his representations for legal protection for trademarks in Germany, which came into force a few years later in 1874.