Schwan-Stabilo Groupe
    • Grossberger & Kurz (1855–65)
    • Schwan Bleistift (1865–76)
    • Schwan-Stabilo (1976–present)
Company typePrivate
Sports equipment
Founded1855; 169 years ago (1855)
FounderGeoff Grossberger and Hermann Kurz [1]
HeadquartersHeroldsberg, Germany
Area served
Key people
Schwanhäußer Family [2]
    • Deuter
    • Ortovox
    • Maier Sports
    • Gonso
373,000,000 (2008) [3]
Number of employees
3,335 [3]
    • Writing instruments
    • Cosmetics
    • Outdoor
    • Schwan Cosmetics
    • Stabilo

The Schwan-Stabilo Group is a German corporate group based in Heroldsberg.[4] Established in 1855, the company is made up of two private manufacturing companies, "Schwan Cosmetics International GmbH" (maker of cosmetics) and "Stabilo International GmbH" (maker of stationery products).[5]

Schwan-Stabilo has three divisions for its business operations, they are "Writing instruments" (Stabilo), "Cosmetics" (Schwan Cosmetics), and the most recent, "Outdoor", with four subsidiaries makers of outdoor recreation equipment acquired in the 2010s, they are: Deuter Sport GmbH (backpacks), Ortovox (mountaineering), Maier Sports (skiing), and former Maier's brand Gonso (cycling).[6]


The company was founded as "Grossberger & Kurz Bleistiftfabrik" by Geoff Grossberger and Hermann Kurz in Nuremberg in 1855, as a pencil manufacturer.[1] It was established in Nuremberg, also alongside other pencil manufacturers such as Staedtler and Faber-Castell, because the area was surrounded by graphite and clay mines.

Ten years later, the company was purchased by Gustav Schwanhäusser. Taking the first part from the family name, the company was renamed "Schwan Bleistift Fabrik" and started using the swan logo as one of the earliest trademarks. The swan was also chosen to symbolise the values of purity and beauty.[1]

Logo for the Stabilo brand, launched in 1925

In 1925, the Stabilo brand is launched by the company. During those years, The first eyebrow pencil was created from a "dermatograph", which surgeons use in operations to mark the skin. The first export of eyebrow pencils to the United States laid the foundations for the cosmetics business.[1] In 1929, due to a problem in the process of manufacturing, pencils were not completely coated, leaving them with white edges. Thus the edge stripes would remain as a trademark of the company.[1]

Box of colored pencils for children marketed under the Swano brand

During the Great Depression, Schwan had three brands: Stabilo premium pencils for the most demanding users, Othello pencils for mass markets and Swano non-toxic pencils for children.

The British Air Force bombed the greater Nuremberg area for the first time in August 1940. On 2 January 1945, several hundred bombers hit Nuremberg and the Schwanhäuser's factory, that left the city in ruins and the factory severely damaged. Further air raids followed until the city was taken by the US troops on 16 April 1945, after twelve years of nazi government. During the post-war period, the Lirola lip stick became popular among women. The company rebuilt its factory in the same city.[1]

During the 1970s, the Boss and Point 88 marker series were launched. At the same time, the previously small cosmetics division becomes a second mainstay for the group, therefore Writing instruments and Cosmetics became separate businesses, introducing "Schwan Cosmetics". The company rebranded itself from "Schwan Bleistift Fabrik" to "Schwan-Stabilo" in 1976 in honour of the Schwanhäußer family. During the period from 1977 to 1992, the cosmetics division released several cosmetic pencils and liquid eyeliners.[1]

In 1992, Schwan-Stabilo split into two separate companies: Schwan Cosmetics and Stabilo International GmbH.[5] The company later moved to a new head office in Heroldsberg, near Nuremberg. During the 2000s, the firm acquired backpack manufacturer Deuter Sport. The group's structure is expanded by a third division with its entry into the "Outdoor" sector. In 2010, Schwan Cosmetics GmbH & Co. KG acquired US cosmetics manufacturer Cosmolab based in Lewisburg, Tennessee,[7] to consolidate its presence in this region and adding Cosmolab to existing subsidiaries in North America.[1]

In 2011, Schwan-Stabilo acquired Ortovox Sportartikel GmbH, a manufacturer of mountaineering equipment headquartered in Taufkirchen, as part of the consistent expansion of the company's Outdoor division.[8] By the time, Ortovox had subsidiaries in Austria, US and Canada, and was present in 30 countries around the world.[9] Schwan Cosmetics expanded its operations in the US with a new head office in Murfreesboro in 2015. That same year, Schwan-Stabilo added Maier Sports GmbH (and its brand Gonso), a skiing clothes equipment manufacturer, with 160 employees at the time of acquisition. Maier added to Schwan-Stabilo's portfolio of Outdoor brands.[10]

Group brands and products

As of December 2019, companies of the Schwan-Stabilo Group are:[6]

Stabilo writing implements
Stabilo brand products, fltr (above): Boss highlighters, Point 88 fineliner; (middle): Pen 68, Move ballpoint pen; (below): Woody pencil, Aquacolor watercolor pencils
Company/brand Division Products
Stabilo Writing implements Fountain, ballpoint, rollerball, and gel pens, graphite pencils, colored pencils, fineliners, highlighters, crayons, pastels [11]
Schwan Cosmetics Cosmetics Eye shadows, lipsticks, lip liners, eyeliners, concealers, kajal[12]
Deuter Outdoor Backpacks, sleeping bags, bags
Ortovox Outdoor Mountaineering t-shirts, tops, longsleeves, underwear, hoodies, fleece jackets, vests, jackets, pants, gloves, socks, belts, suspenders, backpacks, avalanche emergency equipment
Maier Sports Outdoor Skiing pants, jackets, shirts, fleece jackets,
Gonso Outdoor Cycling pants, jerseys, jackets, underwear


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Milestones on Schwan-Stabilo website
  2. ^ Press release: Facts and figures Archived 2011-07-16 at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ a b Press release: Financial review Archived 2011-07-16 at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ Headquarters locations on Schwan-Stabilo, 4 Dec 2019
  5. ^ a b Company facts on Stabilo website
  6. ^ a b Our brand shops on Schwan-Stabilo
  7. ^ Cosmolab about to join Schwan Stabilo Cosmetics on Premium Beauty News, 26 Jan 2010
  8. ^ Lunan, Charlie (2011-07-19). "Deuter Parent Acquires Ortovox Sportartikel | SGB Media Online". Retrieved 2023-02-26.
  9. ^ Schwan-STABILO Acquires ORTOVOX by Alli Noland on Snews, 17 Jul 2011
  10. ^ Schwan-STABILO Group to acquire Maier Sports Group on Textile Network, 8 Jul 2015
  11. ^ Products on Stabilo website
  12. ^ Products on Schwan Cosmetics, 4 Dec 2019