Eberhard Faber Blackwing 602

Another exemplar of the Eberhard Faber Blackwing 602. It’s an older version, but one that brings new questions:


This Blackwing belongs to what I call the “early” group, that is to say, those with a shorter overall length and whose imprint doesn’t have the stylized oblique logo. The gilt ferrule with black band suggests it was made a little later, but there is something unusual about it: a small notch at the end on both sides, which makes it a little easier to pull out the eraser:


This is the only Blackwing I’ve seen with this ferrule. In fact, I haven’t seen any other clamp-style ferrule with this notch in it. When was it made? I don’t know, but my guess is the 1940s based on the packaging, and that the clips which hold the erasers are consistent with the oldest versions. The imprint is unusually bright and foil-like, in contrast to other early versions which seem more like they were silkscreened:


I wouldn’t go so far as to say this was some kind of special edition but it certainly stands out from the others. The packaging is slightly different as well, compared to a box from the same era:


I believe the one on the bottom is older than the one on top, and there are several differences worth noting:

  1. The first obvious distinction is the gilt finish found on the newer box.
  2. The title “BLACKWING” is one word on the newer box.
  3. In the first sentence of the body text on the newer box, the text “needing scarcely any pressure” is emphasized.
  4. The typefaces are similar in style but are different families. Notice that the apex of the “W” in the title of the newer box is uncrossed while in the body text it is crossed, and that the reverse is true of the lower box.
  5. On the newer box, “EBERHARD FABER” comes closer to being a logo than that on the older box.
  6. On the newer box, “No. 602” can be found on the side:


This notched ferrule is interesting—I haven’t seen it before on any other pencil, in an advertisement, or in a catalog (including the ones I just saw at Faber-Castell in Stein). I wonder for how long it was available, and for what reason(s) it was discontinued.


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10 Responses to Eberhard Faber Blackwing 602

  1. Kevin says:

    I’m only looking at photos of course, but is it just possible these notches are a “home” job done with some small tin snips or other mini tool? I hesitate to even question …it’s just that the image 2 above seems to show some slight out of shape edges of the notch..


    • Sean says:

      I see what you mean Kevin but I don’t think they were done by hand, though the notches are so unusual (to me) that I won’t dismiss the idea altogether. I’ll try to take some more photos.

      The ferrules are especially golden, too. Apart from just being in good shape, they are much shinier than any other gold ferrule I’ve seen.


    • Sean says:

      Here are a couple of additional photos:


      • Kevin says:

        Certainly looks like factory done ferrules. On the box, I have seen at least one ebay auction in the last six months with the 2 word BLACK WING. Such a shame older auctions can’t be revisited for a forensic examination.


  2. For whatever it’s worth, one of the typefaces on the gilt box (“You will find writing restful” and the Eberhard Faber name) is — I’m just about certain — Bernhard Gothic. I recently posted a page from an old Turabian manual, and someone identified it there for me.


  3. Jacques says:

    Sean, apart from the narrower spacing between ‘EBERHARD’ and ‘FABER’, and the crossbar of the ‘E’ and the juncture of the ‘R’ appearing farther below the equator, why does “EBERHARD FABER” on the newer box come closer to being a logo than on the older box? And, excusing this additional instance of overcarefulness, would it not be fair to say with regard to your fourth point that the apex of the ‘W’ from “BLACKWING” in the title of the newer box merely appears uncrossed because of the great thickness of the left-slanting stem which disguises but does not entirely remove the appearance of intersecting lines roughly a quarter of the way down from the top? Where you see a ligature joining two ‘V’s at the top, I see two stems crossing in the form of an ‘X’ as in ‘Xmas’. Merry Christmas one and all.


    • Sean says:

      Jacques, to me at least, “EBERHARD FABER” on the newer box has taken on some characteristics that would eventually appear in one version of its logotype:

      This is in contrast to the earlier box, where “EBERHARD FABER” is less stylized. But my perception of this may be influenced by the body text of the newer box, which has a thinner stroke compared to the older box, creating more contrast between the text and EBERHARD FABER.


  4. Jacques says:

    Thanks Sean, I’m just trying to get a grasp on this idea of ‘logo-ness’. Apparently, the word “logotype” itself implies much of what we need to know in order to grasp the concept of ‘logo’, that is, it is composed of a type or font, or variation thereof, different from the type or font used in the body of the text. Is this what you mean?


  5. Joyce says:

    My thought is that the metal alloy might be different from the material previously used given that during lean times, metal was scarce and they may have cut costs and used a different thinner material. Also during war times as well. And that might account for the “homemade look” and also why the coloring seems brighter because color appears differently depending on the metal it is painted on.

    Good score Sean.


  6. Benedetta Saglietti says:

    Reblogged this on Benedetta Saglietti.


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