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Clairefontaine, a brief history…

Jean-Baptiste Bichelberger founded Clairefontaine paper mill in Etival, in 1858.

Paul Bichelberger, his son, then succeeded him. With the help of Emile Champon, he made important changes for the company by using wood as a raw material to make paper. They also introduced the envelope manufacture as well as the notebooks and sketchbooks. They had indeed until then been mostly produced by printers. This was done at an important time when the tools for education were beginning to move away from children using the traditional slate.


Great War

The paper mill stopped running during the Great War as many men left to fight with no one to run the factories. Production began again in 1919 under the management of Leon Daridan although the brand really took off in the 1950’s when Charles Nusse took charge and put the famous Clairefontaine notebook on the market with its varnished cover and purple binding.

It was also in the 50’s that the brand was given its famous ‘Pouring Lady’ logo, a symbol of quality for school children as well as professionals. Rebecca’s story in Genesis inspired the logo, where the young girl offered to draw water for Eliezer after he prayed for a sign to help him find the right wife for Isaac. The basic design has altered over the years but it has always been Rebecca who represents the Clairefontaine brand.


In addition to the brand logo and symbolic notebook, the factory was also equipped with the finest modern paper machines. One of which produces 15 tonnes of paper per hour.

Nowadays, Jean-Marie Nusse manages the company and is part of a group of 50 companies, employing more than 3500 people. A leader in the market, Clairefontaine is the only European group which masters all the products contained within the paper making field including fine art materials, craft materials, notebooks, envelopes and office supplies. A real seal of quality.

Discover Clairefontaine range available online at and in-store.

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