A.W. Faber’s Graphite de Sibérie de la Mine Alibert

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11 Responses to A.W. Faber’s Graphite de Sibérie de la Mine Alibert

  1. Gunther says:

    The photos are outstanding! The warm, muted colours, the arrangement and the perspective are amazing.


  2. memm says:

    They are so beautiful (photos and pencils) and you can feel the effort and care that was used making them. So nice!


  3. Sean says:

    Thanks, Memm and Gunther. Did you notice the hex-shaped lead?

    I should have mentioned a few things, such as that the finish is very nice—especially for pencils that are so old, and that the stamping is incredibly bright and reflective. It almost looks like it was silk-screened or stenciled. I should have taken another photo, but the diameter of the polygrade is quite small compared to, say, a Castell 9000 or Van Dyke from the middle of the century.

    I sharpened one of the “B” pencils, and I’m not exaggerating when I say that it writes more like a modern No. 3 or “F” pencil, maybe even an H, and is rather scratchy to write with. The Siberian HB lead refills though seem like modern German HBs. The music written in the photos was done with the HB lead.

    Oh, and, the 3rd photo from the bottom — the top pencil in the case looks like it has a reflection under the word FABER. That’s actually the same material used for the stamping that apparently got smeared on somehow.


  4. Edd says:

    Oh, this is such a beautiful post! I have loved the story of Alibert’s mine ever since I read it and these are such a grail for me. There was a pair of double ended Alibert leadholders recently on ebay and I was so sad to have missed out on them- truly the pinnacle of pencil quality. I found some hex leads in a very old 2mm leadholder I bought recently, also- perhaps they had been cracked out of these pencils?! Thanks for these photos!


    • Sean says:

      Thanks, Edd.
      That’s interesting about the hex leads. When I first saw these I wondered if it might be a case of where the leads were still somewhat pliable when they were inserted and they took the shape of the channel carved in the pencil. But now I’ve seen references to hex leads in advertisements from the 1870s and ’80s.

      I have some round Faber Polygrades that have square cores. A hexagonal core would be more rigid than a round core, which perhaps could have made them more susceptible to internal breakage. It would be interesting to know if round cores were a consequence of hex cores, or if they co-existed for a considerable time.


  5. Pingback: “A.W. Faber’s New Drawing Pencil” | Contrapuntalism

  6. Pingback: Graphit aus der Alibert-Mine in Sibirien | Tannu Tuwa

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  8. yendras says:

    Hello, my 10 yrs old son noticed hexagonal lead immediately 😛 Do you have any confident information when the Siberian series was finished ? I suppose that in 1917, but maybe earlier ?


  9. Bobby says:

    Ohh, how might I acquire one of those B’s? I have many pencils available for exchange.


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