History of Conté

Nicolas-Jacques conté

(1755-1805)

lettrine_c_biconté brand was founded more than 220 years back and is named after its founder, Nicolas – Jacques Conté. Born in France in 1755, he is considered as the inventor of “modern” pencil lead. He was a man of many talents and is also known for being a painter, physician, balloonist and a French public officer. He was also part of a group that accompanied Napoleon Bonaparte to Egypt for his expedition.

Milestones of the brand
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1794

CONTÉ INVENTED THE MODERN GRAPHITE LEAD


In 1794 during the revolution in France and French war with England, N.J. Conté was commissioned to find an alternative for English graphite supply due to economic blockade. He succeeded with the idea of mixing clay with graphite: the modern lead pencil was born. This method also allowed pencil leads to have different gradations of darkness.

Patent no. 32

N.J. Conté patented his invention in 1795 (patent no.32) and together with his brother, set up a small factory in France to produce pencils. After the death of the inventor, in 1805, the work was continued by his son-in-law and his family who later introduced technical improvements and a line of coloring tools.

1795

CONTÉ COMPANY ESTABLISHED

19th CENTURY

CONTÉ USED BY MAJOR ARTISTS

Sketch made with Conté pencils by Georges Seurat

Conté products started to become popular and have been often used, in combination with other supplies, by famous artists: Georges Seurat (1859-1891) was mainly drawing with Conté pencils, some works of  Corot, Delacroix, Ingres and Picasso have been realized using Conté products.


The company integrated well-known French Stationery companies and increased its know-how in metallurgy, mechanism with “Gilbert & Blanzy-Poure”, inventor of Criterium® mechanical pencil, and chemistry with “Baignol & Farjon”, known for producing colored pencils and ink products like Velleda® dry-wipe marker.

1960-79

CONTÉ INTEGRATED NEW PRODUCTS

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In 1979 BIC acquired Conté company with the objective of enlarging its Stationery portfolio with complementary products. Conté continued to evolve under BIC and successfully launched a mechanical pencil (known today as BIC MATIC®) and first wood-free pencil made with recycled material (known today as BIC Evolution®) in 1984 and 1993, respectively.

CONTÉ & Conté color collection

Today under Conté brand there are quality coloring pencils and felt pens in a new elegant look. The products are available in many countries worldwide.

Production

Within the range of Conté products,  felt pens and the classic color pencils are manufactured in BIC factories in France.