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The Johann-Froescheis Lyra Bleistift Fabrik GmbH & Co. KG, as it is known today, is Nuremberg’s oldest pencil factory.

The foundations were laid in 1806 by the pencilmaker Johann Froescheis, who took over a workshop in Nuremberg and started producing pencils there. The business was run in a very modest fashion for around 40 years, operating only as a craftsman’s workshop. When Johann’s son, Georg Andreas Froescheis, took over the business in 1848, he launched the mass production of pencils. In order to cope with rising demand, Lyra moved in 1860 to the Grossweidenmühle in Nuremberg, where a water-powered mill wheel was used to start machine-assisted production.

In 1868, the LYRA symbol was registered as a trademark, something that was UNIQUE for the industry at the time. The lyre (German “LYRA”) represents the musical instrument of classical antiquity that accompanied singers of that time. We don’t know today why this particular instrument was chosen, but it is presumed that the high quality of LYRA products was associated with the qualities of the harp (a valuable instrument).