Eberhard Faber Columbia

The image above is from the 1907 Eberhard Faber Company catalog: pencil no. 485, called Columbia, finished in patriotic red, white, and blue. It was a hex pencil, complete with a nickel-plated ferrule and white eraser.

I’m not certain in which year the pencil was introduced but its name might refer to the 1893 Columbian Exposition in Chicago, and there could likely have been an earlier version of this pencil. Or perhaps owing to the theme, it was brought out for an anniversary related to 1776 — 1901 would have been the nation’s 125th anniversary.

Here it is in the 1912 catalog:

Nothing quite beats seeing it in person, though:

This photo of the 1915 company catalog shows that there was also a round version, no. 440, though it didn’t have the star field found on the hex version:

This image is from the 1923 company catalog. It only has the round version, and the catalog number has changed from 440 to 465:

The Columbia can still be found in the 1929 catalog, but not in the 1931 catalog:

So for now, we’ll just have to wonder whether 1930 was the final year for the Columbia.

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2 Responses to Eberhard Faber Columbia

  1. Stephen says:

    What a delightful essay and photo! And there must be so many other interesting pencils from the twenties.


  2. Sean says:

    Thanks, Stephen. I think sometimes that I might project more meaning or value onto some of these older things than might have existed. But I can’t help feeling that along with the quality and craftsmanship, there was something more genuine going on.

    Then again, maybe that’s precisely what they wanted people to think. 🙂


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