Rotring (stylized rOtring) is a German company of writing and drafting instruments based in Hamburg.
The company was founded in 1928 as Tintenkuli Handels GmbH. The first product of the company was the Tintenkuli, a pen-pen with a narrow steel tube instead of a conventional pen. While stylistic pens were already prevalent in America and were in fact conventional fountain pens prior to these, they were not marketed in Europe and Rotring would become the name associated with these pens worldwide. “Rot Ring” translates directly to the red ring – which is still placed around the barrel of their pens today.
The name of the company was changed to Rotring in the early 1970s to match the brand. Although stylographs never went beyond pens for writing, in 1953 the Rotring Rapidograph became the prototype technical pen of its time. Its technology has virtually replaced the dominant pen and greatly simplified the technical drawing. Rapidographs are still being manufactured today by both Rotring and Koh-i-Noor, its US subsidiary. The advent in the 1990s of computer-aided design (CAD) saw the partial disappearance of the technical pen. To combat this, Rotring has diversified its range of graphic pens, pencils and markers. In 1998, Rotring was acquired by Sanford, an American graphics company and subsidiary of Newell Rubbermaid Inc. since 1992.