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Autore: Alessandro
History & development – deep roots and fresh green 

History & development – deep roots and fresh green 

The history of our company dates back to around 1890, the days in which a number of companies were founded in Nuremberg for manufacturing brushes of all kinds. In the 1930s, the „Fritz Defet Pinselfabrik“ was born, producing a wide range of products, from paint to patent and shaving brushes.

Unfortunately, due to the chaos of war, many tracks can no longer be traced. After the father did not return from World War II, the then 18-year-old son Hansfried Defet took over the company together with his mother in 1945. Decades later, Mr. Defet still quoted his mother‘s words from the day he came back home after the war: „Tomorrow, my son, you come to the factory“.

The way back was arduous; in the years after 1945, raw materials had to be sourced with great difficulty in the occupation zones, in which Germany was devided, and the knowledge of how to prepare them „ready to paint“ had to be acquired again from scratch.

During these years, Hansfried Defet met and fell in love with a „Fräulein“, a young lady who attended graphic arts school and had many artists in her circle of friends.

On the suggestion of his later wife Marianne, the rebourne factory specialised in artist brushes in the top quality market segment. First goals were quickly defined:
To produce the best brushes in the world and to establish an own trademark internationally.

Truly a groundbreaking decision: The name „Leonardo da Vinci“ was
registered as a trademark for brushes in 1952. The universal genius of the
Renaissance was the idol of the young couple, a name with a magical sound,
easy to pronounce in many languages, a fact that certainly contributed to the high degree of recognition of our quality brushes all over the world.

A stroke of luck regarding the distribution was the cooperation that had grown over decades with H. Schmincke & Co. Artist Colours, Erkrath, as well as with various paper specialists, in the last 25 years with the oldest paper mill in Germany, Hahnemühle Fine Art in Dassel.

In 1985 the Defets began to think about succession. With Hermann Meyer they decided on an university graduate who had just completed his studies in business administration and marketing and who was familiar with the market environment of many customers from his parents‘ business. In 1990 a joint limited company was founded with the married couple Defet and Hermann Meyer as managing partners. In the following years, the brand continued to grow steadily with many product innovations.

At the same time, the management always endeavoured to be at the cutting edge of technical development. The semi-automatic production of synthetic fibre brushes in a specially developed manufacturing method, the so-called HD system, should be mentioned. All machinery was and is developed and constructed in the company‘s own workshop. With a successful product range policy based on the newly gained productivity, consistent customer service as well as an internationally oriented marketing strategy, the development continued to be positive, and the Nuremberg location, now relocated to Tillystraße, was further expanded. In accordance with the motto „Tradition and Innovation“, the company always strives to design the perfect quality tool for every application.

Marianne Defet passed away on June 24, 2008 and Hansfried Defet on October 27, 2016. Due to their foresighted succession policy, however, the course was well set to compensate for these heavy losses. The grand-nephew of the Defet family, Julian Rottner Defet, joined the company as early as 2014 and passed the brushmaking and master examinations in the brush trade, in order to be able to bear the responsibility for product quality and staff education. From the Meyer family another young man, Tobias Meyer, joined the company after his university studies. In April 2021, he was also appointed managing partner and has since been responsible above all for the IT department and online marketing.

Thus, a new generation is ready to lead the „da Vinci Künstlerpinselfabrik DEFET GmbH“ into a successful future and to continue the tradition of brush-making that has grown over centuries in the city of Nuremberg.