Of stationary and memories: the Camlin story


Camlin stationary occupies a special place in the memories of every Indian child. From the Camlin crayons used by pre-schoolers to thedependable Camlin pencils which see primary school students through difficult exams tothe smooth Camlin pens stashed away in a teenager’s stationery box, the company is present in all aspects of school life. Geometry boxes, notebooks, paints and pens of all kinds come together to create a product range which is truly comprehensive. Add files, folders, permanent markers and much more, and you have a complete set of office stationery too.

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The company history

Established in 1939 by G.P. Dandekar and D.P. Dandekar as Dandekar and Co. in Mumbai, the company started off by making ‘horse brand’ ink powders and tablets, fountain pens, sealing wax, school chalks and even pain balm among other things. It soon added Camlin Ink for fountain pens to its offerings and was converted into a private company in 1946. The year 1964 marked a major landmark in the company’s history with the diversification of the product range to include paints of all kinds, canvases, paint brushes and geometry boxes. This was only the beginning, and more such products were added subsequently.

Strides forward

In 1974, the quite remote town of Tarapur in Maharashtra was transformed by the production of wood-cased pencils in a fully automated plant. An important facility for Camlin, Tarapur was also where the company began its diversification with the production of pharmaceutical products like bulk drugs and formulations in 1984. In 1987,Tarapur was in the limelight again when a plant was set for the manufacture of Hi-Polymer lead in collaboration with Pilot Pen Co. Ltd, a Japanese company. By 1987, Camlin was not only recognised as a stationary manufacturer but also a pharmaceutical company. The State Food and Drug Administration of Maharashtra certified the company’s Analytical laboratory at Andheri as a public testing house. At the same time the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research approved the R&D laboratory.

The combination of Indian innovation and Japanese precision

Hitherto a primarily Indian concern, Camlin acquired a new identity in 2012. Kokuyo S&T Ltd acquired a majority stake in Camlin with the aim of transforming it into an office stationary manufacturer. A renowned Japanese brand, Kokuyohas been in the stationary business for over 100 years and has a reputation for producing stationary, institutional furniture and catalogue.

Promoting the spirit of art

Something every art-loving child in Indian schools looks forward to is the AllIndia Camel Contest. The anticipation of sending in a painting with one’s name at the back, the anticipation of the results and the elation of getting a certificate from Camlin is a memorable one. Recognising the reach of the contest, The Guinness World Records honoured the contest by declaring it as the largest art competition with the participation of 48.5 lakh students from across the country.

Nurturing childhood

In 2009, Camlin achieved another milestone when it launched its first Module preschool in Mumbai. Since then, the company has established three more preschools and is a popular choice among parents who seek a system which encourages their tiny tots to explore, learn and discover their true potential.

A name which spells creativity

Whether it is promoting creativity by organising competition for children and art teachers or offering innovative products through intensive research, Camlin has gone beyond being a producer of stationary and drugs. It is synonymous with creativity and expression. An Indian company which has grown and evolved over time to acquire a global reputation and presence, Camlin is on a constant journey of development which ensures that consumers have access to high quality stationary and pharmaceutical products.

Do you have any special memories associated with Camlin? Do tell us the in the comments below!