Quality Art Materials
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 and Company in 1887 under the leadership of its owner, Frederick Weber. Throughout the late 19th century, F. Weber and Company offered a wide range of imported and manufactured products with a significant number of patents awarded to the company for innovation.
In the late 19th and early 20th C — 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 American-made art materials, thereby introducing a need and opportunity for F. Weber & Co. to expand its manufacturing capabilities in addition to distribution facilities. By the early 1920s, F. Weber & Co. also had three retail stores; one each in Philadelphia, Baltimore and St. Louis.
Early Weber Paints, Mediums, and Brushes
After the death of Frederick Weber, Sr. in 1919, his sons, Fred, Jr. and Ernest, incorporated the company, becoming F. Weber Co., Inc. Fred became Technical Director, along with other significant responsibilities, until his retirement in 1967.
Being a creative artist and chemist as well as an author of artists’ materials books, Fred developed many new products. One of the most notable is Original Permalba® White, first formulated in 1921. He was the first to develop this nontoxic, opaque white oil paint with smooth working qualities to replace the toxic, lead-based whites that artists had been using for hundreds of years. It remains the artists’ standard in white oil paint.
North Carolina Coastal Vilage – 1956
Oil on Masonite Panel Frederick W. Weber
In the 1930s Mr. Weber introduced new pigments to the industry with excellent lightfastness and reduced toxicity to the artist; also, synthetic varnishes to replace the less stable natural materials used in the past. Turpenoid®, still the finest available, exceptional odorless turpentine replacement was introduced in the 1950s. This remarkably early commitment to the development of safer art materials continues to the present.
Weber Art Showcase: Larry Degraff
The First Weber Artist Book
Fred Weber, Jr. released his of his first book, Artists Pigments, in 1923 with publisher D. Van Nostrand. He became a sought-after lecturer on artists’ materials and methods, and 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.
Weber Changes Hands
After the death of Ernest Weber, F. Weber Co., Inc. was purchased by Visual Art Industries of Brooklyn, NY, which had created the first signature art sets with the original television artist, Jon Gnagy®.
Dennis Kapp purchased Weber in 1980, and under his continuing guidance, the company produced an ever-widening range of exceptional art materials for artists of all skill levels, as well as signature artists’ products for such well known contemporary television artists/teachers as Bob Ross®, Susan Scheewe®, and Bruce Blitz®.
Chartpak Acquires Weber
On March 8, 2018 Chartpak purchased Weber from Dennis Kapp. Not only did the acquisition include Martin F. Weber, but also Martin Universal Design, the studio furniture and accessories brand, along with various other smaller sub-brands the company offered.
In a press release Steven W. Roth, President of Chartpak, said, “We are pleased that Martin F. Weber and Martin Universal Design are now a part of the Chartpak family of brands. This acquisition enhances Chartpak's product offering as well as being complimentary to our existing brands. It also expands our manufacturing capabilities in the US as well as our distribution and sourcing capabilities overseas. I look forward to working closely with Dennis Kapp who I personally feel has been one of the great creative pioneers of our industry as well as being an outstanding, innovative entrepreneur. Weber has been in the industry for over 150 years and is well-known for its outstanding artist color formulations and mediums; Permalba artist oil color and its Turpenoid branded oil paint thinners. Martin Universal Design, which has been in the industry for over 70 years, is a designer of a wide range of artist accessories from easels, to drawing boards, to portfolio presentation cases.”
"This is a bittersweet moment for me," said Dennis Kapp. "I have had a wonderful career in the art material business. I have made a lot of friends and have met a lot of talented and creative people along the way," added Kapp. "The history of my company and its legacy will be in good hands with Chartpak, as I have known Steven Roth for over 15 years and have seen him build Chartpak to a successful creative products company. I am confident that Steven will manage the brands, expand their presence and product offering as it fits strategically within Chartpak. I look forward to being a resource to Chartpak on new product initiatives and strategic planning.”
Chartpak, Inc., located in Leeds, Massachusetts, manufactures products for the fine art materials, craft and hobby, luxury writing instrument, and office products market channels. Chartpak sells and distributes the following legacy brands: Borden & Riley®, Grumbacher®, Koh-I-Noor®, Higgins®, Clearprint®, AD Marker®, CraftHouse®, Frances Meyer®, Chartpak®, Maco®, Molotow®, and Pelikan®.
We invite you to share our pride in over 160 years of history and tradition. We pledge to continue offering the creative community we serve only the finest and safest in art and craft products, reaffirming our ardent commitment to continuous improvements in art technology as we continue to serve the creative artists of the 21st century.