Refill Erasers 1

There’s nothing quite like genuine parts when you’re doing a little refurbishing. These 1282 replacement erasers for the clamp, originally made from the Red Ruby formula, are still surprisingly pliant.

Refill Erasers 5

They were used for the earlier Blackwing and Van Dyke pencils.

Refill Erasers 2

Eventually the Blackwing shared the same eraser as the Microtomic (which was once the Van Dyke), and were similar to the Pink Pearl.

Refill Erasers 6

These remain remarkably soft as well:

Refill Erasers 7

Though to be honest neither were very good at erasing, even during their heyday.

Refill Erasers 4

If the pencil had a softer lead, and if you were writing on smooth paper, the eraser tended to distribute the graphite more than erase it.

Refill Erasers 3

Still, it’s better to have a fresh replacement than a hardened and shriveled eraser—something you often find on vintage Blackwing 602 and Van Dyke 601 pencils.


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Family Tree Forest


If a family tree falls in the forest and no one is there to see or hear it, did all this work actually happen?

The tree in the photo represents only 20% so far, give or take a Lothar.


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A Few Minutes More


Back from another visit to Wilkes-Barre. There’s a lot of reading to do, but soon I hope to be sharing selections from some rather unique documents.


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Pollux Arriving

Pollux 1

I never thought a handheld sharpener would be able to create a point similar to those made by Carl crank-sharpeners. While current two-stage handheld sharpeners have a certain appeal, the points are usually so sharp that you can expect there to be a little breakage on first contact. None of this is the case with the M+R Pollux.

Pollux 2

The cones are slightly concave, which adds to their strength. Worth noting are the incredibly tight tolerances too: a “standard” hex or round barrel fits snugly into the aperture, preventing any yaw from occurring (something that can lead to broken leads). And everything meets at the tip of the graphite perfectly—in other words, blades that are less accurately designed and fitted often leave odd bits at the end which need to be removed before you start writing.

It’s made of brass so it has a nice weight to it, but I hope to find a suitable case or pouch to keep it in—small items of this high quality tend to grow legs very quickly and disappear.

Thanks to Gunther at Lexikaliker for the Pollux!

For more about the Pollux, See Matthias’s post at Bleistift, and Gunther’s original post at Lexikaliker.

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Pollux Rising


Click for the story at Lexikaliker.

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A.W. Faber, 1897


The original 1897 trademark for the firm “A.W. Faber” in America.




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Mongol, 1905


The original “MONGOL” trademark from the Eberhard Faber Company, 1905.




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“New York’s Own Drink”

Whitehouse Coffee Pencils 0

From the International Directory of Company Histories, Vol. 24, what follows are some details about Seeman Bros. Inc., of New York, N.Y.

There were originally five brothers, who founded their business in 1886 in New York City. Eventually two of the five, Joseph and Sigel, would emerge as partners in the grocery business. As branded products became more popular, the brothers created the White Rose brand and applied it to three products at first: corn, tomatoes, and peas. But as the article notes, it was their brand of tea that made them a “household name.”

From what I can tell White Rose, Inc. soldiered on until 2014, when it filed for bankruptcy and was then purchased by C&S Grocers, Inc.

I don’t know the exact date of manufacture for these pencils, but my guess is sometime between 1920 and 1930; both the shape of the pencils and the embedded erasers are clues, but not necessarily proof.

Whitehouse Coffee Pencils 1

I’ve always been curious about how tapered pencils like these were manufactured. Were they cut from slats like hexagonal and round pencils, perhaps with specialized machinery? The point starts at an averaged-sized diameter then becomes uniformly wider. Four sharp cuts form the back end and reveal the embedded eraser:

Whitehouse Coffee Pencils 3

Given that White Rose, Inc. was based in New York it’s reasonable to think that these pencils were manufactured by the Eberhard Faber Company. Their 1923 catalog shows they were still making tapered pencils:


But many pencil manufacturers were making tapered pencils including Dixon and the American Lead Pencil Co., so it’s hard to say. However, I have one other pencil from the 1920s with the same “White Rose Coffee” branding; and it’s an Eberhard Faber Van Dyke with a clamp eraser.

Whitehouse Coffee Pencils 2

There is something about the typeface that reminds me of Coca-Cola.

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Diferentes Formas de Lápices

Diferentes Formas de Lapices

From El Lápiz: Historia de la Industria, Como se Hacen Como se Venden. Eberhard Faber Company, 1923.

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