They were central figures in Augsburg's role as a centre for engraving during the 17th and early 18th centuries. Bartholomäus Kilian I (1548-1588), a goldsmith from Silesia, settled c. 1575 in Augsburg, where he became a master in 1578. His sons Lucas Kilian and Wolfgang Kilian were trained in engraving by Dominicus Custos (c. 1550-1612), who married Bartholomäus's widow. Lucas was a masterly and innovative engraver, introducing Italian influences to German ornamentation; he and Wolfgang developed the new form of the Thesenblatt, or thesis broadsheet.
Wolfgang in turn had two sons who became engravers, Bartholomäus II (1630-1696) and Philipp 1628-1693). Philipp's son Wolfgang Philipp (1654-1732) also became an engraver. After them, there were a few more generations, and Georg Christophe (1709-1781) formed the collection of the family works conserved in the library at Augsburg.