After many years of settling for whatever pencil was within reach, and being almost completely unaware of the many kinds of great pencils—both new and old—to be found online, I can remember the very day everything changed. And what’s more, I know exactly what to
blame thank: PencilTalk. Among the many things I saw there for the first time were examples of the Graf von Faber-Castell line, which made me want to find out more about them.
Launched in 1993, one of the first items was this pencil with a cap that acts as an extender. It’s plated in silver, and at that time it appealed to me more than their Perfect Pencil, which was larger, heavier, and was rather expensive. I was never very interested in owning an expensive handcrafted pen, and since I used pencils more than anything else I thought this would be a great item to use and care for:
Looking for one of these was my first taste of what was going to come, and in droves: it was no longer being manufactured. It was easy enough to come across a more current version of the Perfect Pencil, but I couldn’t seem to find this bleistiftverlängerer. Making things worse, some online retailers who carry the GvF-C line tend to let their product photos lapse, which added to the confusion as to their availability. After months of waiting and searching, I was lucky to find one online through an auction site. It was part of a desk set that was called Cassette Nr. I. It came with a sharpener, extra erasers, and 4 spare pencils.
The earlier version of this product had an eraser in the top of the lengthener, and the pencils had a silver-plated end cap. The later version of the lengthener no longer had the removable cap, and the eraser was part of an assembly that now screwed on to the end of the pencil via a brass-threaded tip:
The current version of the refills for the Perfect Pencil are slightly different, and the kind pictured above are no longer made. I should have learned my lesson from all that—I should have stopped right there. But all I did was ask myself a question. It seemed like an innocent question at the time:
“If this is called Cassette Nr. I, was there a Cassette Nr. II?”
And just my luck, there were even fewer of these around and was even harder to find than the previous one. But it was all too interesting to me, and I was hooked. Looking back, this is what got the whole ball rolling (quoth Sisyphus).
Now years later, I still use the Graf von Faber-Castell pencil and lengthener. And when you take its design, form, and function into consideration, I might be willing to say it has always been my favorite. I still regularly visit PencilTalk too, as well as some other great blogs such as Lexikaliker, Bleistift, and Pencil Revolution when I want to brush up on the latest pencilnalia.