The first firm owners

The first firm owners

The story of Pelikan AG dates back to 1832 when the chemist Carl Hornemann (1811-1896) began a company in Hannover making paints and inks. The official date that operations commenced was April 28, 1838. Hornemann was the son of an art shop keeper and drawing teacher at the court of King George V of Hanover. Hornemann had the idea of starting the business, because in those days most artists' colors were  imported from France and England.

By 1860, the company employed about 20 workers, including a chemist.

Change of ownership and the hallmark Pelikan

Early Products

In the early years the company produced student quality paints, inks for children, and artists' water colours. Another product was liquid ink, which had previously been offered only as solid ink sticks. From 1895 the range was extended to include more and more products in addition to the previously produced ink and other office supplies. In 1898, the iron gall ink 4001 was introduced to the market. It was an ink which did not fade, making it suitable for official documents. Within a few years it was the best-selling ink in the world. Because it guaranteed the authenticity of documents it was also favored by state authorities. From 1904 until the 1960s, Pelikan also produced a common paper adhesive called Pelikanol.

Pelikan Fountain Pen


In 1982 Pelikan AG's massive expansion led to a financial crisis, and it declared bankruptcy. In 1984 Pelikan AG was acquired by Swiss-based Condorpart AG, and the company was split up and partly closed down; one-third of the workforce had to leave. The Pelikan AG was now part of the Pelikan Holding AG, run from Switzerland. In 1990, Pelikan took over its competitor Geha in Hannover and some production was moved to Pelikan. In 1994, Pelikan Hardcopy was started for for toner cartridges and other printer supplies; it was sold to the US company Nucote in 1995.

In 1994, all Hannover production was relocated to the factory in Peine-Vöhrum, where since pens had been produced since 1973. As a result, 1,100 jobs were lost. In 1993 the factory site in Hanover was converted to the "Pelikan Quarter", an upscale neighborhood with condominiums, restaurants, hotels and offices. In 2003 the company's management left the Pelikan quarter and moved into new buildings near the Mittelland Canal.

In 1996, the Malaysian company Goodace SDN BHD (which now operates as Pelikan International Corporation Berhad) acquired the majority of shares from the Pelikan Holding. In January 2007, Pelikan Holding took over again the businesses it had divested in 1994, Pelikan Hardcopy Holding AG and the German Hardcopy AG. In 2010, Pelikan International Corporation Berhad (PICB) based in Puchong, Selangor, Malaysia took over the the stationery manufacturer Herlitz, including the logistics center Falkensee, and on March 1, 2014 transferred its ownership to Pelikan.


Source: - Excerpts as at July 11, 2014
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