Eberhard Faber Factory in New York, 1903

This article from 1903 is one of several period-pieces I have come across that describe the pencil-making process from start to finish. It begins like most, telling of the large graphite discovery in Borrowdale in the 16th century:


But there is also an excellent series of photographs, taken at the Eberhard Faber Co. factory in New York:


There is an interesting comment about the machinery at the factory, and the motivation for designing it:


Notice, too, that the majority of the workers you see are women. While visiting the Faber-Castell factory in Stein I was told several times that to this day, when it comes to quality control, women typically outperform their male co-workers:




I wonder what labor skills they might have looked for in potential workers. Carpentry? Woodworking? Would pencil-making be a lateral career move for a cooper? Since many of the tasks seem specific to making pencils, I have to imagine that they were willing to train potential employees (unless there was just a lot of moonlighting in bleistiftery back in those days).

Wanted: Experienced bleistiftician and bleistifticator for new pencil factory opening in New York. Apply within. (Bleistiftophiles and Irish need not apply.)

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7 Responses to Eberhard Faber Factory in New York, 1903

  1. Matthias says:

    These are really excellent photos! Thanks for showing us.


  2. Thank you for this historical snippet. Employing women (at least in those days) was a way of cutting costs. Women workers cost much cheaper than men and were typically employed to perform tasks that were seen as requiring lower skill.


  3. Pingback: Eberhard Faber – Lápices de colores (Eberhard-Faber EF518420) | Actividades Creativas

  4. allie says:

    Hi these pictures are amazing! Can I ask for their source? Thanks!


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