Pirmasens (pĭrmäzĕnsˈ) [key], city (1994 pop. 48,619), Rhineland-Palatinate, SW Germany, near the French border. It is a leading German shoe and boot manufacturing center. Other products of the city include chemicals, plastics, and machines. Founded in the 8th cent., Pirmasens belonged to the counts of Hanau-Lichtenberg until 1736. It later passed to Hesse-Darmstadt and in 1816 to Bavaria. The city was heavily damaged in World War II.