Drawings by Jean Vincent

CONTE CRAYON COMMENTS BOARD

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CONTE NAME CONFUSION

DO YOU WANT TO COMMENT ON THIS SUBJECT?


CONTE CRAYONS WITH DIFFERENT NAMES
ARE THEY ALL THE SAME PRODUCT?

This article was written by Jean Vincent
Posted: February 28, 2007

You may come into contact with one or more of the following names when you're looking for Conté crayons or Conté pencils. How are all these names related? What do any of them have to do with present-day Conté crayons (and Conté pencils, etc.)?

BIC
HUNT
ELMER'S
ALVIN

Below are only my own conclusions after doing a lot of reading on the web. I am not an expert at all. I am a person who has used Conté crayons (the "colorful" kind) for years, that's all. I have long wished, and searched for, an explanation that included the significance of all the names (see list above) connected with "Conté Crayons," but have never found anything close to a comprehensive answer. I have wanted to know who makes Conté crayons, and who distributes them in the U.S.A. The motivation for my questions and my long search comes from wanting to find out whether they're going to sell Conte crayons (the "colorful" kind) individually in the U.S.A. again, as they did until recently.

MY CONCLUSIONS, IN ONE PARAGRAPH:

.
It turns out that apparently it doesn't matter whether your Conté products have one or the other or none of the names - BIC, HUNT, ELMER'S, ALVIN - attached to them (along with the name "Conté") - I would say that they're all the same exact product (though sometimes in slightly different packaging), and I think they're still all made in France, and I think that BIC is still the actual manufacturer (having acquired the Conté company in 1979) and that all of the other three companies (HUNT, ELMER'S, ALVIN) have been involved as "distributors" of Conté drawing products in the United States and Canada (and sometimes have their names on the packaging of the products they distribute). Furthermore, it appears that HUNT and ELMER'S are in fact virtually the same company which has changed names as acquisitions have taken place (both HUNT and ELMER'S were absorbed by the BERWIND company). If anyone knows otherwise, I am hoping they will provide us with authoritative information that we can incorporate here. As for ALVIN, I haven't figured out yet how it fits in, though I do know that they're distributing Conté products under the name of HUNT; see notes below that show at one time HUNT was the "exclusive" distributor of Conté products in the U.S. and Canada - Possibly ELMER'S (which is now distributing the once HUNT-distributed Conte products via the BERWIND company), is no longer an "exclusive" distributor of these products in these countries?

FOR THOSE WHO WANT TO SEE MY NOTES, and/or LOOK UP WHAT I LOOKED UP IN ORDER TO VERIFY WHAT I'VE CONCLUDED OR TO FIND OUT DIFFERENTLY, BELOW ARE MY LATEST PREPARATORY NOTES, QUOTATIONS FROM WEBSITES, AND MY OWN PRELIMINARY QUESTIONS AND SOME EARLY CONCLUSIONS, ALONG WITH VARIOUS MUTTERINGS ON THE SUBJECT TO MYSELF (and there are also URLs of websites I visited), ALL OF WHICH I USED TO COME TO THE CONCLUSIONS I EXPRESSED IN THE PARAGRAPH ABOVE.
____

MY NOTES (FOR THOSE WHO ARE INTERESTED)

1) BIC (entered the picture in 1979)

The BIC COMPANY, it turns out, acquired Conté, "a French manufacturer of pens and pencils," in 1979. So, I thought at first, if you want to ask a question about Conté crayons, you have to ask someone at the BIC COMPANY - But then I found out that the BIC company was French, too, though much later I discovered the BIC "headquarters" in Milford, Connecticut, U.S.A. - yet from what I've read I think that they are partially owned still by their parent company, Société BIC, S.A. (in France).

On the BICWORLD site:
http://www.bicworld.com/inter_en/corporate/brand_conte_p.asp
It says "In January 1795, N.J. CONTE obtained the French patent n°32 and started the production of the CONTE pencil.....The present CONTE Company is the result of successive mergers of prestigious French pencil and pen manufacturers.....BIC Group acquired CONTE® in December 1979. CONTE® became the BIC trademark for its drawing and coloring products."

Here is the address of the BIC Corporation in the U.S.

BIC Corporation 500 BIC Drive Milford, CT, 06460 Fax (203) 783-2200

I found out about what BIC had to do with Conté almost two years ago when first trying to find out if the rumor about Conté not making the "colorful" kind of Conté crayons anymore was true -- It looked to me like suppliers were selling out all of their individual Conté crayons and they weren't getting new ones in to replace them - I was panicking. (I since have heard that probably Conté crayons sets will continue to be sold here, but not individual crayons, and I'm still trying to find out why, and also when they're going to start selling them individually again. Sets are for beginners - Once you start using them and learn to love them, then you want to buy the ones you're running out of, not an entire set each time you purchase any.)

I wonder how HUNT (et al) fits in with BIC, unless BIC is considered the "manufacturer" and HUNT as opposed to the "distributor" (in the U.S. and Canada, see under 2) HUNT, immediately below). This is probably it.

2) HUNT (entered the picture I don't know when, but by 1996)

HUNT has been the "exclusive" distributor of Conté products in the U.S. and Canada, according to 1996 and 1998 HUNT CORPORATION Annual Reports (which I found on the web), which stated that HUNT MANUFACTURING COMPANY "is the exclusive United States and Canadian distributor" of "CONTE(2) pastels, crayons and related drawing products, for which the Company is the exclusive United States and Canadian distributor."

The number 2 after the word CONTE is explained at the bottom of this section. It says that "2" refers to: "Trademark of Conte S.A."

However, on Answers.com, it is revealed that just a few years later things have changed. It says:

"In January 2004 Berwind merged office supply manufacturer Hunt Corporation (which it acquired in 2002) into Elmer's, adding brands such as X-Acto (knives), Bienfang (papers), and Conte (crayons) to the Elmer's portfolio."

I then looked up BERWIND, and came across this page on the web:
http://www.berwind.com/elmers.htm

It notes at the top of this page:

"Elmer’s Products, Inc. ACQUIRED 2003"
Underneath it refers you to:
www.elmers.com

A few paragraphs below (still on the www.berwind.com page), it says:

"In October 2003, Elmer’s Products and Hunt Corporation combined operations. Hunt is an internationally recognized manufacturer and marketer of innovative office products and presentation and display solutions for business, education and consumer markets...."

Further,

On a page called FR Doc E6-1909
(at the top it says "[Federal Register: February 10, 2006 (Volume 71, Number 28)])

it states:

"Hunt Corportion; Now Known as Elmer's Products, Inc."

On a page called KOHLBERG KRAVIS ROBERTS & CO. there is a press release, much of which I'm quoting here:

QUOTE --

BERWIND GROUP TO ACQUIRE ELMER’S PRODUCTS

Elmer’s along with Hunt Corporation to form Berwind’s Consumer Products Platform

PHILADELPHIA, PA, October 16, 2003 - The Berwind Group announced today that it has reached an agreement to acquire Elmer’s Products, Inc. (Elmer’s) from an affiliate of Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. The transaction is expected to be completed by early November 2003. J.P. Morgan Securities, Inc. advised Berwind in the transaction.

Headquartered in Columbus, OH, Elmer’s is a manufacturer and distributor of branded consumer adhesives under the brand names ELMER’S®, ROSS® and KRAZY GLUE®. Elmer's has been producing the most well known line of consumer adhesives for over fifty years.

Elmer’s will become part of Berwind’s new consumer products platform, which was established in 2002 with the acquisition of Hunt Corporation. Headquartered in Philadelphia, PA, Hunt is a manufacturer and marketer of innovative office products and presentation and display solutions for business, education and consumer markets with well-known product brand names such as X-ACTO®, BOSTON®, and BIENFANG®.

The combination of Elmer’s and Hunt squarely positions the platform as a leading branded consumer products company with an exceptional portfolio of strong brands and distribution throughout the office products, craft and hardware segments.

-- END OF QUOTE
_____

My note from above Press Release: HUNT CORPORATION WAS ACQUIRED BY BERWIND IN 2002; ELMER'S PRODUCTS, INC. WAS ACQUIRED BY BERWIND IN 2003. But I notice that if you go to the "HUNT" site, you end up at the "ELMER'S" site (and both are part of BERWIND, so it says above).
_____

If you click on a link to the HUNT MANUFACTURING COMPANY website, you get to Elmers.com. The URL for Elmers.com, in fact is
http://www.hunt-corp.com/index.asp

I often come across HUNT CONTE CRAYONS when looking for Conté crayons on-line, and it's been very jarring to see that name attached (The information on the cardboard inserts in the plastic boxes my Conté crayons do not say HUNT anywhere on them, nor do they say ELMER'S - but they're a couple of years old), and so when I see HUNT CONTE CRAYONS it makes me wonder if those are exactly the same as the Conté crayons that I use (and can no longer find to buy individually in the U.S.).

3) ELMER'S (see above about HUNT,also) (Entered the picture in 2003)

Recently, while trying to find out who distributes Conté crayons (and Conté pencils, etc.) in the U.S., I was told that ELMER'S does.

When I was trying then to find information on how ELMER'S is related to BIC (and Conté crayons), I came across (on-line) the word "ALVIN" on a "Conte" product.

4) ALVIN

The "about" page of the Alvin & Company, Inc. site:
http://www.alvinco.com/about.asp
It is explained that:

"Alvin & Company is a well-known importer, manufacturer and distributor of graphic arts, drafting, art and office products."

Alvin & Company
Bloomfield, CT - Grand Prairie, TX

I searched further on the web and found out that ALVIN & COMPANY, INC. is a distributor for (among other products), the "pastels" products shown on this page - that is, at the URL just below (there are links for each, so you can see the products in more detail):

http://www.alvinco.com/itemdetail3.asp?Cat1=Art,%20Hobby%20and%20Craft&Cat2=Pastels&sec=General

THERE ARE "CONTE" PRODUCTS ON THE PAGE (ABOVE), AND THEY ARE "HUNT" CONTE PRODUCTS ("HUNT Conte Color Sets," etc.)

So, Alvin & Company is distributing Conté crayons? Why aren't they being distributed by only one distributor (HUNT/ELMER'S)? HUNT used to describe itself as the "exclusive" distributor in the U.S. and Canada of Conté drawing products. How does ALVIN fit in?

I'm assuming now that all of the actual Conté crayons and pencils are still made in France. Mine are. It says on the cardboard insert in the plastic boxes they come in: "Made in France." And if ELMER'S now is the U.S. distributor of Conté crayons, what does ALVIN have to do with it?

I have a theory in mind about Alvin & Company, Inc. selling "HUNT Conté" products - Maybe they've bought up all the Conté products that were labeled HUNT (though I don't see the word HUNT on the front of the boxes they show with the Conté products in them on the Alvin site - maybe it says HUNT somewhere in fine print on them?). As I was saying/thinking, maybe they bought up all the ones that say HUNT somewhere on them and are distributing those until they run out? (It doesn't sound plausible, but there's a possibility.)

Also, it has been noted that in other countries Conté crayons come in different packaging. More in a box, different kinds of boxes, etc. Does anyone know who's in charge? Who is the person to contact regarding the difficulty of buying individual Conté crayons in the U.S.?

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OTHER CONTE CRAYONS PAGES

TIPS - CONTE CRAYONS & DRAWINGS
USE, STORAGE, MAILING, ETC.

SECOND PAGE OF TIPS

THIRD PAGE OF TIPS

WHERE TO BUY CONTE CRAYONS

WHERE TO BUY INDIVIDUAL CONTE CRAYONS

CONTE CRAYON COLORS AND SETS

PAPER

THE RUMOR ABOUT NOT MAKING
CONTE CRAYONS ANYMORE

NICOLAS CONTE AND
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CONTE CRAYON MISCELLANY

CONTE CRAYON COMMENTS BOARD

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