Eberhard Faber: Red & Blue. And Red. And Blue.

Faber Sample Book 3

There have been some interesting posts about red & blue pencils lately, such as these posts from Pencils and Other Things, as well as these two posts from Lexikaliker. I don’t have very many examples to share, but here are a few that I find interesting.

Many of them come in the form of “checking” pencils, which can either be half red and half blue, or just red or blue:

Faber Sample Book 2

The brand names can vary, such as the Referee pencils above. The Eberhard Faber Company also had a line of Okay pencils:

img0311923 Eberhard Faber Company Catalog

It was a popular line, which was expanded to include the colors white, yellow, and green:

Faber Sample Book 4

Here are two that you don’t see very often. First, a Van Dyke thin red & blue pencil:

Faber Sample Book 5

Second is this Mongol red and blue, complete with gold cursive stamping:

Faber Sample Book 7

The sample book that holds these pencils was originally in poor condition. The elastic material was so old and desiccated that it crumbled at the lightest touch.

Faber Sample Book 1

So I removed all of it and went looking for a suitable replacement. I glued the tips of the new elastic in between the outer cardboard and the inner lining, then threaded them through each of the staples.

Faber Sample Book 8

Since sample books are hard to come by I wanted to try and restore it (and its identical partner, not pictured). Once the elastic was in I did few more passes with a soft eraser to clean the interior, and now it’s ready to hold pencils for another fifty years.

Here are a few more I’ve placed in this folder, including a Van Dyke Star and a Mongol Stenographic:

Faber Sample Book 6

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11 Responses to Eberhard Faber: Red & Blue. And Red. And Blue.

  1. Gunther says:

    Wow! This is stunning – the pencils, your photos, the restored sample book, the historical details, everything. Thank you for showing these treasures!

    Like

  2. Koralatov says:

    Lovely restoration job on the sample books. Are those staples holding down the elastic? Did you reuse teh originals, or put in fresh ones?

    I see a vintage Sanford No-Blot in there. I have some of the last batch of them if you’d like one for your collection?

    Like

    • Sean says:

      Thanks, and sure, I’d be up for some Noblots. Perhaps we can arrange a swap?

      Like

    • Sean says:

      Yes, the staples are holding the elastic but they sit slightly proud of the surface (there’s a small gap underneath). There must have been special machines to make these.

      Older books that I have use a piece of elastic string, whose loops are held by another thread on either side. I’ll try and take some photos.

      I’ll email you about the pencils.

      Like

  3. Stephen says:

    A beautiful restoration! Thank you for sharing these great photos.

    Like

  4. Sola says:

    Wow!! It’s a feast for the eyes 😀 Thank you for showing us, it’s a real labor of love!

    Like

  5. Pingback: Pencil Sample Books | Contrapuntalism

  6. andy says:

    The little man “okay” is a bit creepy. Though count me jealous of the copywriter who got to write a pencil rhyme for that ad!

    Like

    • Sean says:

      It could be worse: you could have the Mongol “Goopus” staring you down from across your desk:

      It’s hard to see, but the pencil goes through his left hand. I would like to have been at the board meeting when this item was proposed.

      Like

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