Founded in 1761 at Stein near Nuremberg by cabinet-maker Kaspar Faber (1730-1784), the enterprise remained in the Faber family for five generations. It opened branches in New York (1849), London (1851), Paris (1855), and expanded to Vienna (1872) and St. Petersburg (1874). It opened a factory in Geroldsgrün where slide rules were produced. It expanded internationally and launched new products under Kaspar Faber's ambitious great-grandson, Lothar (1817-1896). In 1900, after the marriage of Lothar's granddaughter with a cadet of the Counts of Castell, the A.W. Castell enterprise took the name of Faber-Castell and a new logo, combining the Faber motto, Since 1761, with the "jousting knights" of the Castells' coat-of-arms.
The Castell family were mediatised counts of the old Holy Roman Empire, and as such ranked with the reigning dynasties of Europe. In 1901 the head of the family was granted the hereditary title of Prince by Luitpold, Prince Regent of Bavaria. A descendant of the first prince, Count Alexander Friedrich Lothar von Castell-Rüdenhausen (1866-1928) married Baroness Ottilie von Faber (1877-1944), heiress of the Faber pencil "dynasty" in 1898. Although the immensely wealthy Lothar had been ennobled in 1861 and made Baron von Faber in the Kingdom of Bavaria in 1881, in the German Empire his daughter's marriage to a mediatised nobleman would have been deemed morganatic, and the Count's trafficking in commerce considered an act of social derogation for a member of the Hochadel, so Alexander renounced his birth rank prior to the marriage. He was granted the new hereditary title of Count von Faber-Castell by Luitpold, Prince Regent of Bavaria for the descendants of his marriage to the Faber heiress. Although Alexander and Ottilie divorced in 1918, the Faber business trust had conferred headship of the company on Alexander, who even kept the Fabers' renovated palace at Stein (commandeered to billet journalists during the Nuremberg trials, including Ernest Hemingway and John Steinbeck). In 1927 Alexander resumed his original name for himself, his second wife (born a countess, Margit Zedtwitz von Moravan und Duppau, 1886-1973), and their son, Count Radulf (1922-2004). His issue by the first marriage had never been considered dynasts of the House of Castell, but they inherited the vast Faber fortune and continue to include Castell in their name with the comital title.
Alexander and Ottilie's only son, Count Roland Lothar Wolfgang Christian Ernst Wilhelm von Faber-Castell (1905-1978), inherited headship of the Faber-Castell companies from his parents. By his second marriage in 1938 to Katharina Sprecher von Bernegg (1917-1994), Roland was the father of the current head of the family, Count Anton-Wolfgang Lothar Andreas von Faber-Castell. Anton-Wolfgang was born in Bamberg 7 June 1941, was married (briefly) in Las Vegas on 16 June 1986 to Carla Mathilde Lamesch—mother of his only son, Count Charles Alexander von Faber-Castell, who was born in Zürich 20 June 1980—and he wed secondly, at Stein on 12 December 1987, Mary Hogan (b. 1951), by whom he has three daughters.
Anton-Wolfgang's niece, Countess Floria-Franziska von Faber-Castell (b. 1974) was married at Kronberg on 17 May 2003 in a much-publicised wedding attended by members of Europe's reigning families, to Donatus, Hereditary Prince of Hesse, a great-grandson of King Victor Emmanuel III of Italy and a grand-nephew of Princess Sophie of Greece and Denmark, sister of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. Floria is a daughter of Hubertus (1937-1971), second son of Roland. Various branches of the Faber-Castell family still flourish, but in the past the Faber and Faber-Castell corporate holdings have usually passed to the eldest male of the patrilineage, currently Count Anton-Wolfgang, third of Count Roland's five sons.