This article from 1903 is one of several period-pieces I have come across that describe the pencil-making process from start to finish. It begins like most, telling of the large graphite discovery in Borrowdale in the 16th century:
But there is also an excellent series of photographs, taken at the Eberhard Faber Co. factory in New York:
There is an interesting comment about the machinery at the factory, and the motivation for designing it:
Notice, too, that the majority of the workers you see are women. While visiting the Faber-Castell factory in Stein I was told several times that to this day, when it comes to quality control, women typically outperform their male co-workers:
I wonder what labor skills they might have looked for in potential workers. Carpentry? Woodworking? Would pencil-making be a lateral career move for a cooper? Since many of the tasks seem specific to making pencils, I have to imagine that they were willing to train potential employees (unless there was just a lot of moonlighting in bleistiftery back in those days).
Wanted: Experienced bleistiftician and bleistifticator for new pencil factory opening in New York. Apply within. (Bleistiftophiles and Irish need not apply.)