When you visit the Faber-Castell factory in Stein, Germany, you’ll see it has four floors and is in the shape of a giant “U”, complete with smokestack. This photo was taken from within the building, where I was standing approximately at the bottom of the “U.”
I can’t say that I walked into every single room but I noticed that along the production line, there were very few walls separating each of the areas. If there was a wall, there was an open double-door to go through, which gives you the feeling of one long floor rather than many separate compartments:
I don’t know how many different ‘departments’ there are at the Faber-Castell factory, by that I mean, the number of steps that are assigned to either a machine, a person, or both. No matter what the number, I’m sure it is designed with efficiency in mind.
In the minutes of a board meeting of the Eberhard Faber Company dated December 5, 1905, there is a passage with a list of the many rooms involved in their pencil-making process. I can’t be certain if it is a list of all of the rooms, but it was very interesting to read how many separate compartments (and therefore, stages) there were at the time. In no particular order:
- Dry House
- Grooving Room
- Gluing Room (2 strip-gluing machines)
- Rounding Room (2 rounders, 1 jointer)
- Varnish Room (4 varnish machines)
- Hand-Polishing Room (10 double tables)
- Steel Polishing Room
- Heading Rooms (shoulder machine, plugging machine, tipping machine, sizer)
- Stamping Room (bronze stamping machines)
- Metal Room (two turning lathes, one automatic threader, one knurler)
- Nickel Shop
I’m making an assumption that by calling something a “room”, it means you likely enter and leave through a door. But even so, it’s easy to imagine that a lot of carrying was involved. And as bespoke machinery was invented and implemented, many of these steps would be combined.
Some rooms from 1903.