Ink blotter from the German branch of Eberhard Faber, ca. 1930s.
Polish pianist Sławomir Zubrzycki recently unveiled his realization of an instrument designed by Leonardo Da Vinci, called the viola organista (clicking the photo will take you to the NPR story). It plays like a keyboard instrument but sounds like bowed strings, which will raise all kinds of interesting questions about repertoire. Though there have been attempts in the past to build this instrument Zubrzycki’s appears to be the most successful, and it’s interesting to consider what place this new old instrument might find among keyboardists and harpsichordists, in both period and modern ensembles.
Speaking from experience, one of the side effects of playing a lesser-known instrument is that it sometimes leaves critics struggling to be as critical (though, bless them, they always seem to find a way).
2013 marks the 2nd anniversary of the 50th anniversary of the 200th anniversary of A.W. Faber-Castell:
Point of interest: these displays were being made and delivered to the United States in 1915, during the First World War. The article goes on to say that this display reached its destination in Portland, Oregon with “all but one pencil displaced”, and that the company also made a display that was a replica of the Statue of Liberty. I wonder where it is now (and if there are some photographs in the archive).
This is a 1909 advertisement for a Mongol display cabinet from Eberhard Faber. Looking at the image of a sailboat in the center, it made me think of the box for an early version of the Blackwing.
The design of this Blackwing box has always seemed out of place to me because it doesn’t comport with the vast majority of Eberhard Faber packaging designs from the 1930s and ’40s. In general very little imagery was used, and when it was, it usually was an aspect of the pencil itself (there are a few exceptions). And though the idea of sailing might represent something that is “smooth”, the advertising for the most part was much more direct than metaphorical. Put another way, the advertising department likely didn’t want to worry whether the consumer “got it” or not.