Is That A Castell In Your Pocket?


This A.W. Faber pocket (or waistcoat) pencil is similar to those made by the other Faber brothers, Johann and Eberhard respectively:



Among the Faber houses alone there were countless varieties of pocket pencils, be they short or long, round, hex, or flat:


You would also find them offered in stationery sets, suggesting they might have been popular with students. Many other manufacturers offered similar pencils as well, so they were likely more than just a gimmick or some kind of novelty. I wonder what they were primarily used for: simply to have in your pocket for jotting some notes? What was the niche they filled that hexagonal pocket pencils didn’t (or couldn’t)?

This set from A.W. Faber (+1 for the period after Faber on the cover) comes in a small cardboard box whose printed design is meant to suggest textured fabric:


The lid is slightly padded which adds a nice touch:


This set consisted of six Castell HB pencils and a metal holder:


On one side of the pencil it says: “A.W. FABER. HB”, and on the other: “CASTELL“.


Just as you could find ornate and expensive versions of these pencils there were plenty of the inexpensive sort too, which makes me wonder to what degree they may have been considered “disposable”. Then again we’re talking about the turn of the 20th century, when even pencils were well-looked after and cared for.



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2 Responses to Is That A Castell In Your Pocket?

  1. Matthias says:

    To me the Castell set is the most appealing one, by far. So elegant despite its simplicity. Just beautiful!


  2. eddbagenal says:

    Lovely- these are such delightful pencils to carry. I customised an Eberhard Faber one recently, to use in a pinch –


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