Eberhard Faber: Black Chalk Artist’s Sketching Crayons

Faber Sketching Crayons 1

Not quite pencils, but close enough. Eberhard Faber’s Artist’s Sketching Crayons came in a smart-looking folding case that closed with a snap.

Faber Sketching Crayons 2

They were available in two grades: soft and medium soft. I don’t know when they were first offered, but here they are in a 1931 catalog entry. (NB: Artists’ in the catalog, Artist’s on the product.)

1931FaberCrayons

Having tried them, I wouldn’t say that the grades “soft” and “medium soft” are meant to correspond to their graphite counterparts. They are not waxy like our modern notion of ‘crayons’, rather they are like the chalk you might use on a chalkboard. The OED tells me that crayon comes from the French craie, which comes from the Latin creta; both of which mean ‘chalk.’

Faber Sketching Crayons 3

They are coated to protect against excessive transfer to your fingers, and they come factory sharpened. This case is only half-full:

Faber Sketching Crayons 4

Knowing that it was some 50 years before the Eberhard Faber Company began manufacturing their own graphite leads in America (they were supplied chiefly by Lyra), I wonder who their source for chalk products may have been.

Faber Sketching Crayons 5

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2 Responses to Eberhard Faber: Black Chalk Artist’s Sketching Crayons

  1. Michael Corry says:

    These are in the same family as Conte crayons and artists’ pastels rather than the pencil family. I should think the medium soft and soft designations are purely relative since they are certainly much harder than soft pastels perhaps even harder than hard pastels like Faber Castell’s Polychromos range. Conte crayons are still very much in use as are Faber Castell’s version, Pitt crayons. Not to be confused with wordless graphite sticks, they fulfill a different function.

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