Martin Universal Design
Martin F. Weber Co.
America’s Master Artist Color Maker
Martin F. Weber Co.
America’s Master Color Maker since 1853
For over 150 years, the name Weber has been synonymous with quality art materials. Established in 1853 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Martin F. Weber is one of the largest manufacturers of art materials in the United States.
Originating in 1853 as Scholz & Company, a sales agency, the company evolved through a series of growth partnerships to become F. Weber & Company in 1887 under the leadership of its owner, Frederick Weber. Throughout the late 19th imported and manufactured products with a significant number of patents awarded to the company for innovation.
In the late 19th and early 20th centuries—the golden years of the prestigious World Fair—F. Weber & Co. frequently won gold medals for its fine quality products. Exhibitions included: 1873 Vienna; 1876 Centennial Exposition, Philadelphia; 1893 Columbian Exposition, Chicago; 1903 Louisiana Purchase Exposition, St. Louis; 1915 Panama-Pacific Exposition, San Francisco; and 1926 Sesqui-Centennial Exposition, Philadelphia.
The disruption of commerce during World War I caused American artists to seek more domestic art materials, thereby introducing a need and opportunity for F. Weber & Co. to expand its manufacturing capabilities and distribution facilities. By the early 1920s, F. Weber & Co. also had three retail stores with locations in Philadelphia, Baltimore and St. Louis.
After the death of Frederick Weber Sr. in 1919, his sons Frederick (Fred Jr.) and Ernest incorporated the company and renamed it F. Weber Co., Inc. Fred, along with other significant responsibilities in the organization, became Technical Director and continued to serve in this role until his retirement in 1967.
As an artist, chemist and author of many art materials publications, Fred was instrumental in product development. One of his most notable products is Original Permalba White which he first formulated in 1921. The first of its kind, this nontoxic, opaque white oil paint replaced the toxic, lead-based whites that artists had been using for hundreds of years. Today it still remains the artists’ standard in white oil paint. In the 1930’s, Fred introduced new lightfastness pigments to the industry that reduced toxicity to the artist and created synthetic varnishes that were more resilient than the natural formulas used in the past. In the 1950’s he introduced Turpenoid, an odorless turpentine replacement that is still the finest product available of its kind and used worldwide. This remarkably early commitment to the development of safer art materials continues to the present.
With the publication of his first book, Artists Pigments (Van Nostrand, 1923), Fred became a sought-after lecturer on artists’ materials and techniques. He provided advice to many prominent 20th Century artists, including: Thomas Hart Benton, Dean Cornwell, Arthur Dove, Peter Hurd, Normal Rockwell, NC Wyeth and Andrew Wyeth.
After the death of Ernest Weber, F. Weber Co., Inc. was purchased by Visual Art Industries of Brooklyn, NY who went on to create the first of many signature art sets beginning with the original television artist, Jon Gnagy. Since acquiring the company in 1980, Dennis Kapp has continued to honor the tradition of the Weber family by delivering an ever-widening range of innovative art materials. Renamed Martin/F.Weber Co., we provide quality materials for all skill levels as well as signature artists’ products from such well-known contemporary television artist instructors as Bob Ross, Susan Scheewe, Wyland and Bruce Blitz.
We invite you to share our pride in over 160 years of history and tradition and trust in our pledge to continue offering the creative community we serve only the finest in art and craft products. We are ardently committed to developing and delivering improvements in art technology and studio safety to all artists of the 21st century.