Copying pencils have a long and storied history. Along with the Noblot and the Blu-Blak, the Eberhard Faber Co. also made the Transfer ink pencil, which may have been one of their original ink pencils. Though I don’t know their exact age, the advertisement above comes from 1914:
Each pencil comes with a protective cap, which are all embossed with “E. Faber”:
Most striking are the ferrules, if they can be called that. The gold-colored metal has two stripes of what looks to be black enamel paint:
I couldn’t resist doing some more cross-ferrulizing, and it looks quite at home on the Blackwing 602:
Another beautifully crafted pencil from times gone by:
They look so good. They somehow remind me of ancient warriors (The cap is the helmet, …). I wonder whether the ferrule is purely decorative or whether it has another purpose (protect pockets when it rains from getting inked by the end of the pencil, preventing the owner from chewing on the pencil end…).
I think they have something to do with what you mentioned re: chewing the end of the pencil. In the 19th century you see those pencils with ivory or bone end caps, and it seems these ferrules are just an extension of that idea. Especially since the dyes that were used were often poisonous.
They are very beautiful! Their design is brilliant. – Do you know more about the saltire with the four dots? It has appeared on German pencils too. I was told it was used only as a separator and for decoration purposes but I woulnd’t be surprised if it had an additional meaning.