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One of the most notable changes in the design of the Eberhard Faber Blackwing was when the company stopped painting the black band around the neck of the clamp eraser ferrule. They were still being painted after the company’s move to Wilkes-Barre in 1956/57 but I have yet to determine the exact year this change occurred. It seems that it can be narrowed-down to the same time of this packaging style, but it wasn’t only the black band that changed.

The boxes pictured above (older on top, newer on the bottom) are nearly identical: the main difference is the addition of the PMA logo in the lower-right. But that’s not all.

The older box closes by way of an elongated flap, whereas the newer box has a shorter flap that tucks into the top of the box:

The printing on the flaps themselves remained the same:

It was the older box, however, that was used for the banded pencils. The newer, PMS-stamped box, was for the non-banded pencils.

I’ve always thought that the loss of the black band had everything to do with cost, but it’s interesting that the PMA approval is found on the packaging used for the non-banded pencils — in other words, did the PMA approval force the issue?

I’m currently unfamiliar with what was needed to earn PMA approval back then but I’m beginning to wonder if there wasn’t something about the paint used by the Eberhard Faber Company for the black band that was a concern. Then, faced with having to research an alternative, the company decided to discontinue the practice altogether.

Apart from the black band the pencils are identical (to the eyes at least), and there was only a slight update to the functionality of the box. Rather than being the result of inspiration though, the changes are starting to seem more like an accommodation.