A.W. Faber “Castell” Pocket Pencils 1906


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E. Faber’s Magic Pencil Holder


Does it hold only magic pencils?

If the holder itself is where the magic happens, then using a card to remove it (as suggested by the manufacturer) might be giving away the secret.

But this item looks less magical than it does dangerous, even for 1890 (when this advertisement appeared). I think I’d rather take my chances running with scissors than taking a spill with this thing (and the sharpened pencil it’s holding) attached to my shirt.

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Stein Says Goodbye

GvFC© Thomas Scherer 2016

Some 2,000 citizens joined the family of Anton-Wolfgang Graf von Faber-Castell last night in Stein, walking silently behind the horse-drawn carriage which bore the Count, to hold vigil at Martin-Luther-Kirche. Members of the fire brigade held torches to illuminate the route:

3758878474© Thomas Scherer 2016

Funeral services will be held at Martin-Luther-Kirche on Friday and a video feed will also be sent to Stein’s town hall, owing to the church’s capacity of only 340 persons. You can read more at Nordbayern.de, and at tvbayern.de.

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“Pull Out Clamp To Lengthen Eraser”


This is an Eberhard Faber Van Dyke 601 pencil with a paper insert, explaining how to lengthen the clamp eraser. I’m speculating that this insert was a forerunner to the cutout arrow found on later ferrules:


It seems the company didn’t want to leave anything to chance, and so printed the same instructions on the barrel of the pencil:


In case those two clues got past you, there was always the cover of the box to remind you:


The paper tag is interesting though. I wonder if it was part of an automated process, and if so, whether new machinery was designed for it or if existing machines were modified. My guess is that it was done by hand during finishing and packaging. But seeing how it would have been such a time-intensive procedure, I also wonder if those tags might have been used only on display pencils, and/or part of salesman’s sample kits.

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Eine Cassette hochfeiner Schreibbleistifte Nr. II, versilbert

GvF-C Cassette No. 2

A repeat appearance, but worth repeating.

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Michael's Moving Day

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I first met Count Faber-Castell in December of 2012, as part of a visit to Stein that Faber-Castell had generously arranged. During the second evening about 10 of us or so were gathered in a fine Nürnberg restaurant, not far from the town center, upstairs and in a private room. The long dining table took up most of the space, laid out as you might expect—name cards and all. I found that my card was placed right next to the Count’s, alerting my jet-lagged mind that I at least ought to have a suitable icebreaker in reserve for the moment we’d be introduced.

A few minutes later he entered the room, a head taller than everyone, then began circulating around the table giving friends, co-workers, and us strangers each equal amounts of his time and a warm greeting. We were still standing having just arrived ourselves, and the room hummed with low chatter as he made his way to his seat.

Then, standing next to me and smiling we began to shake hands. But before I could say anything, he drew in closely to speak to me privately. Delivered in his urbane Franconian accent, his first words to me were: “So. You must be the Blackwing freak, yes?”

Turns out, I didn’t need an icebreaker after all.

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Anton-Wolfgang Graf von Faber-Castell (1941–2016)


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Faber Circular Erasers


Comments from the previous post got me wondering about circular erasers. Whether for typewriters or pencil, the shape was supposed to offer a consistently thin edge. Here is an advertisement from 1890 for E. Faber’s new circular erasers:


I wonder, though, how well this kind of eraser worked on typing paper. Perhaps if you acted quickly before the ink set, you could do better than just smearing it around. Still though, they were likely borne of that same wishful thinking that accompanied the erasers found on ballpoint pens during the ’70s and ’80s.


The 6580 was in the Eberhard Faber catalog for decades. Eventually it would be absorbed into the Van Dyke line and given a brush, as seen in the 1923 company catalog:


Though you’re not likely to see many new typewriter erasers these days, the form factor continues to live on in the Faber-Castell “UFO” eraser, and the Graf von Faber-Castell circular eraser. The center is platinum-plated and the eraser itself is made from natural rubber:

Version 2

Maped also offers a circular eraser and there are likely more out there to be found. It really is a handy shape, typewriter notwithstanding.

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“The Sudden Disappearance of Miss Take”

Eberhard Faber Miss Take (Short Story)

This promotional package for Eberhard Faber’s circular erasers comes with a story, or rather a short short story: “The Sudden Disappearance of Miss Take.”

Eberhard Faber Miss Take (Cover)

The inside has a cavity with room for one eraser. In this case a No. 6580 Medium, which is for “average use.”

Eberhard Faber Miss Take (Inside)

The travails of Mr. Boss and Miss Doe are as follows:

Eberhard Faber Miss Take Text

Let’s hope Miss Take has learned her lesson, and won’t be showing up again anytime soon.

Eberhard Faber Miss Take

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