A.W. Faber Polygrades: Old and New

In honor of Lothar von Faber’s 200th birthday, Faber-Castell has released a limited edition set of Polygrade pencils. Though it’s all too common today, von Faber was the first to offer a set with pencils of varying grades; some included an eraser, a sharpening knife, or both. Along with the pencils themselves the packaging was of the highest quality too, including gilt lettering on the cover and wooden cases with a spring-loaded clasp. Here are some later versions from the 1880s of the Polygrades, which had a light brown appearance instead of black:


The line was available in Siberian graphite, including lead refills:


Though I have a few of the original boxes and some of the pencils from those sets they’re either partially sharpened or incomplete, so I wanted to see what the pencils from the anniversary set would look like inside one of the original 19th-century boxes:

IMG_1304 (1)

With the exception of having round leads instead of square or hexagonal leads, the new pencils are purported to resemble the look, feel, and quality of the originals.

This must have been quite an undertaking for Faber-Castell. Along with the pencils there is a finely printed booklet with photos and historical information. With the exception of Tombow I can’t think of any other recent sets of this type; I wonder if Faber-Castell has ever issued a similar set in the past for the Polygrades line (or any others).

For some excellent photos be sure to check out this post at Lexikaliker.

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