A.W. Faber In America: 1850

Photograph of Lothar von Faber’s portrait, from an original copy of The Lead Pencil Manufactory of A. W. Faber at Stein near Nürnberg, 1865.

A.W. Faber’s efforts to establish an agency in America began in 1843. By 1849 Lothar Faber’s younger brother, Johann Eberhard, arrived in New York and began to consolidate the family concern. By 1851, Eberhard Faber was designated as the sole agent for A.W. Faber in New York and re-opened the storefront at 133 William Street under his own name:

Most of the advertisements I have found from this period are often simple lists of products. This example, from a Boston newspaper dated 1850, was placed by a stationer called John Marsh:

Amid myriad stationery products from paints to paper (+1 for double elephant), there is an entry for “Faber’s superior Drawing Pencils.”

The lack of an “A.W.” or “Eberhard” in front of “Faber” harkens back to a time when the company’s reputation and dominance was such that “Faber” was synonymous with “pencil.”

But this list has something else of interest—something that serves as a witness to the early days of the pencil industry in America—just below the line for Faber is an entry for “Munroe’s superior Drawing Pencils.” William Munroe, cabinet-maker turned pencil-maker, is noted by Petroski (and several others) as being the first manufacturer of lead pencils in America. Within fours years of the date of this advertisement however, his business in Massachusetts would be shuttered.

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2 Responses to A.W. Faber In America: 1850

  1. Gunther says:

    The first photo is beautiful! And “double elephant” is great 🙂 But what’s “theorem paper”?


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