These Eberhard Faber Tee-Vee 1142 pencils remind me that there must have been thousands upon thousands of pencil brands in their company catalog. Over the course of 138 years, how many different brands of wood-cased lead pencils could there have been? Even with all the information I’ve gathered over the years, creating a comprehensive list seems like an endless endeavor (but one I consider pursuing from time to time).
I’m assuming the Tee-Vee pencil dates back to the 1950s or 1960s, but even so, how long could they have lasted in the catalog? A decade? One year? As No. 2 pencils go they don’t seem to offer anything notable in terms of performance. Instead they seem more like a novelty pencil: The name Tee-Vee is flanked on both sides with what appear to be cathode-ray tubes shining their light. (This reminds me of the Icelandic word for television, Sjónvarp, which I’ve read can loosely be translated as “picture-thrower” [from James Essinger’s Spellbound, 2006.])
I’m sure some brand names were more ephemeral than others, especially those commemorating a particular event or anniversary. But when Mr. So-and-so at the Eberhard Faber Company conceived of the Tee-Vee pencil, was it with the hope that it would remain in the catalog for more than one year? Was it more Darwinian, i.e. survival of the who-sold-mostest?
Left wanting for answers, we can at least enjoy the creative legacy of Mr. So-and-so.