Eberhard Faber


More Mongols 2

Eberhard Faber Mongol pencils at the surrender in Reims (Image © probably Pathé News)

Eberhard Faber Mongol pencils at the surrender in Reims (Image © probably Pathé News)

Well, there are not many blog posts about vintage pencils here, but thanks to Henrik’s comments here’s a quick follow up on the previous blog post and the Mongol.

Eberhard Faber Mongol pencils at the surrender in Reims (Image © probably Pathé News)

Eberhard Faber Mongol pencils at the surrender in Reims (Image © probably Pathé News)

The Mongol is the pencil that was used for taking notes at the surrender in Reims (ending WWII in Europe), while the Parker 51 was used to sign the actual documents.

Eberhard Faber Mongol pencils at the surrender in Reims (Image © probably Pathé News)

Eberhard Faber Mongol pencils at the surrender in Reims (Image © probably Pathé News)

If you want to have a closer look at these pencils: Sean has a blog post about the Mongols made in 1944, near the height of U.S. production for the Second World War.

Eberhard Faber Mongol pencils at the surrender in Reims (Image © probably Pathé News)

Preparing the Eberhard Faber Mongol pencils for the surrender in Reims (Image © probably Pathé News)


I believe that the use of the image shown in this blog post, falls under “fair dealing” as described by the UK Copyright service.

More Mongols:

Lexikaliker has a nice Mongol ad from the 1920s and on Sola’s blog you can admire some of the Mongol’s great packaging.

…and just earlier this week Jinnie had a look at the Mongol 482

There also more Mongol spotting going on at Orange Crate Art, actually so much that I only picked one to link to. Michael has some great Mongol ads, too. This one is on my wall in the office.

 


Palomino Blackwing 34

I was quite excited when I received some of the new Palomino Blackwings yesterday. I sharpened one in my Deli 0635 pencil sharpener and took it to the office. Later that day I tried the Palomino Blackwing out, writing a word or two and was amazed: The pencil was incredibly smooth, very dark and did not smear as much as expected from such a soft pencil. In the afternoon I took it to a meeting to take some notes, but when I tried to use it in a real life situation I became disillusioned pretty fast. I found it necessary to constantly rotate the pencil to keep the point from becoming too wide. I usually use very few pressure and in this case, too, I used very few pressure (this type of pressure and angle normally does not even make the Kuru Toga engine revolve), still the point was just eroding away more and more.

T-Prime and Palomino BW. More in common than the eraser colour.

The 602 after one line

This behaviour is very different to a Blackwing 602, which will keep the point for much longer. The Palomino Blackwing did actually remind me of another pencil I like, the TiTi T-Prime B (previously mentioned here). Both are very dark, very soft, the Palomino Blackwing even more so, but both are not pencils I would like to pick up when I have to write something, just because they use up so fast that they need constant sharpening.

The Palomino BW after one line

Please do no think that this is supposed to be an objective review. Without specialist equipment to replicate the same conditions this is obviously not possible, e.g. applying the same pressure. (In a previous blog post Lexikaliker mentioned two devices that would do just that, the Elcometer 501 and 3086). Despite my unscientific approach: the thickness of the lines in the beginning and the end should give an indication of what I tried to describe. The pencils were sharpened using a Möbius + Ruppert’s grenade. The paper is from Rhodia (Bloc Rhodia Nº 13).

The 602 keeps a finer point longer

The Palomino Blackwing is a great pencil, one of the smoothest pencils I have ever used …I just find it too impractical for writing small text (my lower-case letters are usually 2mm (1/16″) high). It might be better suited for other tasks, such as drawing or writing large letters, where you need a thicker line. Who knows, the Palomino Blackwing might still become a success story despite this problem, maybe it will be the new Moleskine. Moleskine’s paper does not seem to be the best for fountain pens, but we all know how popular it is today. I was told that in Chinese fairy tales the beautiful girl is usually ‘a bit ill’, which is supposed to make her even more ‘precious’. This reminds me of Moleskine and the Palomino Blackwing.


  • I would like to thank Sean for the Blackwings.
  • I would like to thank Kent for the TiTi T-Prime B.
  • The Blackwing 602 used in this comparison is the version with U.S.A. printed on the body, but without the black stripe on the ferrule.
  • I referred to the Elcometer and a blog post from Lexikaliker. These devices move a pencil over a surface under a fixed pressure and angle to the surface. The purpose of these tests, scratch hardness tests (Wolff-Willborn tests) is actually to determine the resistance of coating materials or lacquers to scratch effects on the surface, not to test the pencils themselves.

Graphite screensaver 5

Look who made it into Amazon’s “screensaver” for the latest Kindle. Fittingly, the advertising shows the Kindle with a pencil next to it, the colour of the case is “graphite” and most screensaver images look like pencil drawings.

I would like to thank Sean for the Blackwing 602 used in this photo.

You can find more information about John Steinbeck and his relation to the Blackwing at the Blackwing pages and at Palimpsest.


Sanford Artgum eraser 3

One of the blog posts I plan to do in the next few days (or weeks) is about my favourite eraser. I have no doubt about which eraser is my absolute favourite, but there are a few other erasers that are very nice to use, too. One of these is the Sanford Design Artgum art eraser/cleaner, model number 73030, an eraser I already mentioned in a previous post that could easily be my favourite if it would smear a little bit less and erase a bit better. Although this last statement did not sound very good, the eraser is not as bad as this sounds. I admit that it will smear first when you start to erase, but if you keep erasing the smeared lead will be removed, as will be any traces of the writings or drawings you tried to erase in the first place. Why do I like it? …because it is very soft and crumbly. From all the erasers I know it is the one with the most comfortable feel to it.

This eraser was originally called the Eberhard Faber Design Artgum eraser/cleaner. Its name changed when Faber-Castell bought EF and it changed again when Sanford took over.

The Artgum eraser is available in two sizes and I bought mine, the bigger one, from Granthams, a local shop that is also selling stationery over the Internet. Their current price is £1.22(~$1.92, ~€1.43), which is a good price for Europe. Manufactum sells them for more than three times this price. On the other hand £1.22 is expensive compared to the price you pay in America. I have seen a pack of two fo these erasers from a US web site for 69¢.


Links:


Eberhard Faber Lederetui 20

I think I should start this blog entry with a warning. If you expect this to be a pencil case review you might be slightly disappointed …there is a bit, but not too much, to be written about this pencil case, so to make this blog entry more substantial I will also talk a little bit about the Eberhard Faber brand and include a little bit of information about the pencils they offer in Europe. OK, let’s start:

When I was in Germany in April 2010 I bought this Eberhard Faber pencil case at the Müller store in Volkach, Lower Franconia. Müller is a drug store chain with shops in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Slovenia, Hungary, Croatia and other countries. The Müller shops I have seen so far had a nice selection of stationery.

Keeping the size of the shop in Volkach in mind they had a rather big stationery section. All the common products and brand were stocked …those that you would find in most shops in Germany, i.e. mainly Staedtler, Faber-Castell and for mechanical pencils the common Japanese brands as well.

You will also find some Lyra pencils, but don’t get your hopes up if you are looking for niche products. You will certainly find sharpeners, but if you are want a specific model not from Staedtler or Faber-Castell, but from Dux, M+S  or Eisen you will be disappointed …but to be fair: not many stationery shops stock these brands anyway.

One of the reasons why I bought this pencil case was to get it while it is still available. Eberhard Faber was an American brand, but was sold to Faber-Castell. Since the 1990s Sanford owns it and as far as I know Eberhard Faber products disappeared more or less completely in the USA. If this is not the case and Eberhard Faber articles are still available in the USA I would be grateful if you could let me know. Not uncommon in such a case: another company held the trademark for another geographic area, in this case Staedtler continued to use the Eberhard Faber name in Europe1. Recently Staedtler sold the Eberhard Faber trademark, which now belongs to Faber-Castell. My understanding is that current Eberhard Faber products will not completely disappear, but will instead be sold under the Staedtler name in the future.

Eberhard was the brother of Lothar von Faber, the great-great grandfather of Count Anton Wolfgang, the current CEO of Faber-Castell. Originally Eberhard managed the subsidiary in New York and later  he established his own company under his own name (see page 8 of the 2 / 2007 issue of Faber-Castell topics).

If you want to know more about the Eberhard Faber brand: page 5 of the 1/2010 issue of Faber-Castell topics has a great article about the history of the Eberhard Faber brand.

Back to the pencil case. The pencil case was €14.99 ($19.90, £ 12.45) and is filled with 17 pencils (all of them triangular shaped), an eraser, a ruler, a sharpener, 6 ink cartridges and a timetable. The material of the pencil case is real leather, but unfortunately the leather is rather thin. Four of the pencils are the Tricki Dicki highlighter pencils in neon colours: yellow, orange, green and red. The pencil case was available in three different colours: tan, black and maroon, the one I bought. Just for your information: In Germany maroon is usually referred to as “Bordeaux red”.

Eberhard Faber Tricki Dicki highlighter pencils

Although possibly not the best choice of name for English speaking countries, these pencils work very well, but like all highlighter pencils they cover written or printed letters to some extent. They look very similar to the Staedtler textsurfer dry, so I assume the Tricki Dicki and the textsurfer dry might actually be the same pencil. The circles, stars and triangles printed on the Tricki Dicki pencils can also be found on Staedtler’s new learner’s pencil. I could not find a direct equivalent to the other colour pencils from the pencil case in Staedtler’s product range. The most similar pencil seems to be the Staedtler ergosoft, but unlike the ergosoft, the Eberhard Faber 1410 colour pencils do not have ABS coating.

Eberhard Faber colour pencils 1410

The sharpener that comes with the pencil case is the Möbius+Ruppert double hole magnesium sharpener 0211. The white eraser that you get does not have anything printed on it.

Möbius+Ruppert double hole magnesium sharpener 0211

The Eberhard Faber Lederetui is a tri-fold pencil case with the fold-out part containing a timetable on one side and the ruler, the ink cartridges and three 1210 pencils on the other side.

I am not sure whether there is an equivalent pencil that is being sold under the Staedtler name. If there is one it might be the triangular Noris Club.

The Eberhard Faber 1210 pencils are very nice indeed, rather dark and not scratchy. They do however look relatively boring and I have to admit that I am less of a fan of triangular pencils than most other people.

Eberhard Faber 1210 - Faber Castell 9000 - California Republic Palomino

Eberhard Faber 1210 pencil

Conclusion:

The Eberhard Faber Lederetui is great value for money. You get quite a few pencil and a nice sharpener for your money. Compared to high-end pencil cases like the Sonnenleder Lasse it does however feel a bit flimsy and the leather, even though it is real leather, feels quite plasticy. This pencil case is being sold to school children, therefore the thin leather makes me wonder whether the pencil case will survive very long in the real world… Nevertheless I am sure it will last for a long time if you look after it.

Links:

Staedtler press release about selling the Eberhard Faber trademark to Faber-Castell

Price: April 2010

Exchange rates: August 2010

  1. This reminds me of Grundig, I mentioned them recently in another blog entry []