Since I’ve been posting about this pencil lengthener recently, here are some scans of the very first Graf von Faber-Castell catalog and their bleistiftverlängerer:
(I’m not sure if refills for the lobster were available. Perhaps a special edition?)
Pencils from the initial Graf von Faber-Castell line (1993):
Close-up of the lengthener I had previously owned. The cap used to have an eraser and the pencils had silver-plated tips:
Later versions (I’m not sure when the switch was made) would do away with the eraser under the cap and move it to the end of the pencil. First there was a brass-threaded end, then a switch to what is the current design:
The lead in those earlier pencils, especially the ones with the silver caps, was softer than what is available now. For me at least, they were perfect—I wish I knew what grade that was and if it was a unique formula. It wasn’t very waxy at all, rather more like powder, but very smooth and dark.
I don’t usually post about new or even current products, but given the topic it’s worth mentioning that refills now include these grey pencils with the guilloche pattern featured on their desk pencils. Not available in the U.S. just yet, but with a trip to Germany coming up in October I will try to remedy that:
This pencil lengthener was my “gateway drug” to the Graf von Faber-Castell line. It was my first “high end” pencil-related item, and at less than half the cost of the Perfect Pencil, it didn’t feel like I was jumping into the deep end all at once. But it also set me in a pattern that would last for years: Discovering products just as they were discontinued, and having to go to the ends of the earth online to try and find them.
I don’t know what it is about this bleistiftverlängerer, but the design, shape, feel, and function of it are just perfect in my opinion. Since it pre-dates the first Perfect Pencil I wonder if this was a stepping stone to the PP’s design or whether the lengthener was always meant to be a separate product. In other words when it was first designed and produced, did someone think: “You know, I bet I could fit a sharpener in there…”
The Perfect Pencil eventually eclipsed this lengthener but I don’t know if the PP was meant to obsolete it, or if the lengthener just didn’t sell well. Like I mentioned before though I still think this would be a popular item, even if there was just a plastic edition.
Thanks to Faber-Castell for the copy of the Graf von Faber-Castell catalog.