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Rotring Pens

Rotring, based in Hamburg, Germany, produces technical writing and drawing pens. The company was founded in 1928 as Tintenkuli Handels GmbH. Its first pen was the Tintenkuli, a stylographic pen. This style pen was a fountain pen with a narrow steel tube for a nib. Stylographic pens had been used in the United States for many years, but they had not caught on in Europe. The Tintenkuli was the first stylographic pen produced and distributed in Europe.

Rotring based its pen designs on the Bauhaus style. They placed a red ring around the barrel of each of its pens. This ring became the signature of the company, as red ring in German is "rot ring." Rotring became the official name of all products with a red ring in 1961. Rotring advanced technical pen technology with its Rapidograph pen in 1953. This pen became the prototype for technical pens and the design is still used today.

The original Tintenkuli pen was made in black hard rubber with the signature red ring. Celluloid versions in colorful styles soon followed. Other products used variants of the kuli name, including the Roll-kuli rollerball pen and the Tikk-kuli ball point pen. Rotring 600 pen models from the late '80s are also popular with collectors.

Quick Facts

  • Rotring celebrated its 70th anniversary by issuing a limited-edition 1928 fountain pen. The pen comes in candy-stripe green with 18-karat gold accents and the signature red ring. The pen currently sells for around $150
  • The Tintenkuli name comes from the words "tinten," meaning ink, and "kuli," meaning worker. Vintage Rotring Tintenkuli pens from the '30s and '40s currently sell for between $150 and $300
  • The Rotring Art Pen was introduced in 1984. This pen is specially designed for calligraphy

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