Monday, 28 December 2009

Koh-i-Noor

There are two Czech companies named after the renowned South African diamond whose name means 'Mountain of Light'. The more internationally famous, perhaps, is the pencil manufacturer Koh-i-Noor Hardtmuth, founded in Vienna in 1790 but based since the mid-19th century in the southern Bohemian city of České Budějovice.

The other is the no less global Vršovice-based manufacturer of press-studs, snaps, needles, pins, buttons, zips and all manner of other fasteners, which moved here from Holešovice in 1907 and has continued very successfully ever since.

Their advertisement, painted on the side of the Koh-i-Noor building on Kavkazská (Caucasus Street), is composed of the trademark image of a girl's face with a press-stud for an eye, originally designed by the great Czech artist František Kupka, and the legend 'Patent na spolehlivost' - 'Patented Reliability'.

But an even greater sign than this of the company's enduring success (and anticipated permanence) is the fact that their company headquarters has a tram stop named after it. Anyone clambering aboard the 22 or the 7 will be familiar with the message 'Next stop: Koh-i-Noor', and it's hard not to feel a twinge of local pride each time travellers are reminded of this great name.

3 comments:

marianne said...

Very nice photo and interesting background details. I was here this afternoon to take photos of the building. (I am on holiday in Prague). Just a question. It said on the main entrance that it is a wholesale business. At the back there is a shop entrance, but closed when I was there (after 4 pm). Could you tell me if an individual can buy things in the shop? I would also like to know if the factory can be visited as I would love to see how the snip fasteners are made.

Alex said...

Hi Marianne. Well, although I know the tram stop very well, the details of opening hours or retail are unknown to me. I suspect there is a shop, and I am sure that they will show you round. It would be fascinating. If you are still in Prague on 5th Jan let's meet and try to get a guided tour!

Paros Shepherd said...

What a co-incidence! On 28 Dec 2009 my wife, Karin, and I were at the Koh-i-Noor tram stop--having gotten off too early for Tesco-Eden.

Karin commented that she wanted to come back when the shop was open.

Sign us up for the 5 Jan. tour!

Cheers,
Michael

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