An Irish Bonanza

What I thought were just some Faber-Castell school pencils turned out to be something much more interesting. This is the Faber-Castell 1329—so generic that it didn’t even get a name. The first thing that surprised me though, is where they are from. Of all places, Ireland:

However, the box they came in (not pictured) is standard Faber-Castell fare, including labels in German (e.g. 1 Gros, gelbpoliert). It’s entirely possible that the packaging materials were printed in Germany and sent to Ireland.

There are no other markings on the pencil, including barcodes, etc. They are older—my guess is sometime around the ’70s or ’80s based on the logo and the packaging, but that is just a guess. Next, the “Faber-Castell” logo was set in an unusual typeface:

Most surprising is that the diameter of this pencil is considerably smaller than that of the average pencil. On the left is an Eberhard Faber Van Dyke, and on the right is the 1329:

Last but not least, the 1329 is still made today, but it has been given a name: the Bonanza. I have some of these pencils (thanks Matthias) and they have a standard diameter. They are available both with (1320) and without (1329) a tip:

Faber-Castell promotional photograph.
This entry was posted in Pencils and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to An Irish Bonanza

  1. Gunther says:

    What an intriguing find! The minimalistic design is very appealing. – The lead looks a little thinner too. Is that correct? And how is the quality of this pencil?


  2. Matthias says:

    A fantastic find! I didn’t know that Faber-Castell was manufacturing in Ireland, but they certainly weren’t the only factory from around Nuremberg to move some of their production there. Grundig (they made radios etc) did the same. They started in 1960 in Ireland, but unfortunately there is a sad part to this story, too ( ). Grundig also opened factories in Portugal where they are still making radios today – but under different ownership. Other German companies like Leica also moved to Portugal and are still manufacturing there). I had a quick look and Faber-Castell’s Irish web site seems to indicate that they started producing in Ireland no later than in the mid-50s ( ). They might have started earlier, but I doubt they did so if put it in context with the Wirtschaftswunder and the time when Germany started to look for Gastarbeiter….


  3. Kevin says:

    I got my Bonanza 1320 ‘B’ pencils from a seller in South Korea where these pencils (made in Indonesia) seem to be marketed as a competitor of the Staedtler Yellow pencil 132. They are a very nice pencil and quite dark and smooth in the ‘B’ grade. Thanks Sean, for revealing the connection to the Irish pencil.


  4. Sean says:

    Gunther: I think the lead is a little thinner too. It writes very nicely, much like the current Bonanza. But there’s one other striking thing: the polish (I’m going to use “polish” instead of “lacquer” I think from now on, since that’s the traditional name) is incredibly smooth—almost slick. It feels very nice. I should say though that I think the thinner diameter would begin to feel uncomfortable for extended use.

    Matthias: Thanks for the links and the interesting information. I’ve sent a query to Faber-Castell Ireland to see if they might be able to identify when these pencils were made. I’d love to find out more about Faber-Castell’s Irish offerings.

    Kevin: I should have mentioned that these are 2B. I don’t know if they were offered in a spectrum of grades, but my guess is that they may have been restricted to the HB–B–2B range for school use.


  5. Pingback: Public 2500 | Contrapuntalism

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.