It’s our anniversary
180 years Pelikan!

Pelikan, a company of long-standing tradition, has been making history for 180 years now.

Pelikan, a company of long-standing tradition, has been making history for 180 years now. On 28 April 1838, with the release of the first price list for his paint factory, the chemist Carl Hornemann laid the foundation for the success of this world renowned traditional company from Hanover, Germany

2018 is a special year for us – on 28 April, Pelikan turned 180 and can now look back at a history that is not only very long, but has also been very eventful. It all began long ago when the chemist Carl Hornemann founded a paint and ink factory in Hanover. Business activities were launched with the publication of the first price list on 28 April 1838 – and, with them, the history of a successful brand that is now known all over the world.

Company history

For everyone who would like to have a closer look at the success story of Pelikan

Our interactive company history, as well as the book on brand history, provide a full overview of the past 180 years of Pelikan.


New discoveries from the Pelikan archive

Previously unknown letters from the originator of the brand, Günther Wagner, to his successor Fritz Beindorff have been discovered in the company archives. Also among the discoveries was the original Wagner family coat of arms, which was probably used as an indentifying mark on honey paints for children even before 1873.

Pelikan archive

Pelikan works with care and passion to help make the world a better place.

It was Günther Wagner himself who, on the basis of his family coat of arms, designed the PELIKAN pictorial trademark for his “Small Honey Paints”. Günther Wagner took the number of three chicks in the nest for the PELIKAN pictorial trademark. Honey paints were a type of watercolour, common at the time, in which honey was used as a binder. According to an 1873 price list, small round pans of honey paint were offered in tin boxes containing 12, 18 or 24 different colours, the paint pans being glued to the metal of the box. In designing the trademark, Günther Wagner abandoned what he called the “oval” shape of the shield on which the pelican was displayed in his family coat of arms.

After the birth of a fourth Wagner child a further chick appeared in the nest – as can be seen in the oldest PELIKAN trademark known until now, which was registered on 27 November 1878.

The brand changes
with the times

The Pelikan brand tells an entire story, compressed into a single sign. It is the story of the mother pelican’s love and affection for her chick, which, as we know, will one day open its wings and fly. Thus the Pelikan brand, from its beginnings right down to today, can be understood as being symbolic of the success story of this old-established German company, a company of global importance.