Eberhard Faber’s Artist’s Pencil

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Offered individually as well as in sets, this early leadholder from the Eberhard Faber Co. is likely from the late 19th or early 20th century.

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This pencil is nearly identical in size and design to A.W. Faber’s Artist’s Pencil, from the polished rosewood body right down to the ivory tip:

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It’s likely that E. Faber’s Artist’s Pencils were manufactured by A.W. Faber in Germany, as the former was still importing high-grade wood-case pencils and leads from the latter up until the early 20th century. Though the Eberhard Faber Co. was manufacturing its own pencils as early as 1861, by agreement with A.W. Faber they were only of the “inexpensive” variety. (In fact, the Eberhard Faber Co. would continue to import leads for more than 50 years from companies such as Lyra and Staedtler.)

In 1898 Lothar Washington Faber (son of the first Eberhard Faber and the brother of Eberhard Faber II), visited pencil companies in the vicinity of Nürnberg—including that of his uncle Johann Faber—while concealing his efforts from his relatives at A.W. Faber in Stein. The American firm was about to dissolve its dependency on, and partnership with, A.W. Faber, about which Lothar Washington wrote to his wife: “The pencils we cannot make ourselves we can have made here as good as A.W. Faber for one half the price. We can work much more profitably without A.W.F.”

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As part of a company-wide makeover (and no doubt influenced by a lawsuit brought by A.W. Faber), the label of “E. Faber” would be dropped in favor of “Eberhard Faber” on all of the company’s pencils and packaging:

eberhard-faber-letter-about-name-1903

The Artist’s Pencil would continue on in the Eberhard Faber catalog at least until 1915 (I’m not certain yet as to the year it was discontinued), as the American firm gradually removed and replaced products that bore any similarity to or connection with those made by  A.W. Faber.

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4 Responses to Eberhard Faber’s Artist’s Pencil

  1. Julie Paradise says:

    Thank you for this interesting bit of information as well as the beautiful photos with lovely photo copies of the old documents!

    Like

  2. Edd says:

    Didn’t know Eberhard Faber were making these that early. Quite a rarity- thanks for sharing.

    Like

    • Sean says:

      While there was a strict agreement regarding the extent to which Eberhard Faber could manufacture wood-case pencils, I haven’t come across anything to suggest they couldn’t make their own leadholders. But this pencil is so alike to the A.W. Faber pencil that it would surprise me if the two were manufactured separately.

      Like

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