Rotring was established in 1928 as Tintenkuli Handels GmbH. The company's first product was the Tintenkuli, a stylographic pen-a fountain pen, with a narrow steel tube instead of a conventional nib.
While stylographic pens were already common in America and in fact pre-dated conventional fountain pens, they had not been previously marketed in Europe, and Rotring would eventually become the name associated with such pens throughout the world. "Rot ring" directly translates to red ring - which is still placed around the barrel of their pens today. The company's name was changed to Rotring in the early 70s to match the trademark.