And Then There Were 12

For some time, I used the word “version” to describe each of these 11 differing Eberhard Faber Blackwing 602 pencils, but it didn’t always fit. (For example, one pencil differs only in having “U.S.A.” missing from its imprint.) Perhaps “example” is the better word but it doesn’t convey a sense of chronology—a chronology that, despite my best efforts, remains elusive. Whatever the term, their number has increased by one:

The length, color, and imprint places it among the earliest four examples, but this 602 has the distinction of being the first one I’ve seen with the arrow cut from the ferrule:

The arrow-cut ferrule dates back to 1921 with the introduction of the clamp eraser, which was fitted onto Eberhard Faber’s then-premium pencil, the Van Dyke (it’s worth noting that the arrow-cut Van Dyke ferrules are the smokey/black type with the bronze band, which is the reverse of this ferrule). The Blackwing wasn’t introduced until 1934, so it can be inferred that this arrow-cut ferrule design was in use for at least 13 years. But to be honest, after years of researching the history of this pencil (with mostly contradictory information to show for it) for all I know the Eberhard Faber Co. just used up what ever ferrules they had in stock at the time. But either way, it’s a very interesting find.

How many differing Blackwings were there? It’s hard to say. But since we know now that they at one time had a gold-colored arrow-cut ferrule, it’s reasonable to presume that some were fitted with the smokey/black arrow-cut ferrules too (so there’s at least one more out there).

Special thanks to J. Gladden for sharing her find, and for providing the source photos.

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1 Response to And Then There Were 12

  1. J.Gladden says:

    Great write up Sean! Its good to see the “new” Blackwing among its counterparts.Just a note on provenance…This pencil came from the California estate sale of a pencil collector. From what I could tell, the huge lot of pencils dated from the 1800’s to the 1950’s and the seller described her sales as only a portion of what this lifelong collector owned. The collection was sold by his children and the seller could only recall that his name was Henry. It would be nice to know more about him.His collection was astounding and I’m happy that at least one is preserved here where it belongs. Thanks Sean!


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