In an interview given to the Salt Lake Herald in 1906, Eberhard Faber II offered some sage advice to pencil users. While most of what he said borders on common sense it’s still illuminating to hear it straight from the horse’s mouth so to speak; like Bach himself telling you that sevenths should resolve downward by step, or Ted Williams telling you to keep your eye on the ball.
Never bite the end of a pencil. It ruins the glue used in holding the pencil boards together causing them to separate.”
Never place the lead point of a pencil in the mouth. It tends to harden and harm the lead.
…no mention of possible harm to the person on the other end of the pencil.
Never sharpen a pencil when in a hurry. The result will be that more points are broken and material wasted than if sharpened leisurely.
As true today as it was 110 years ago.
Buy only the best pencils. The others are a snare, a delusion and utterly useless.
To be fair he didn’t say buy only Eberhard Faber pencils, but rather “the best” pencils. I wonder who makes those.
When buying pencils select grades suited to your work. Too hard or too soft pencils never work well.
There you have it, and remember, stay away from those delusional pencils.
Of all the people associated with the genuine Blackwing 602, one name rises to the top of the list: Eberhard Faber. I recently had the privilege of paying Mr. Faber a visit at his home in Pennsylvania, and while there were very few pencils on the shelves, there were three 1/2 gross boxes of Blackwings.
We spoke a great deal on the phone and in person about the origin of this pencil, and to what degree it was directly advertised by the company:
“The original Blackwing was introduced in 1934. The lead was a formula that my father developed [Eberhard L. Faber, 1893-1945]. He was a chemist, and in fact he developed most of our lead formulations at the time. The Blackwing, I think, was the first wax-impregnated lead, which is one of the things that gave it its smoothness. It was popular among people who did crossword puzzles because it wrote well on newsprint.”
I was curious to learn how the company viewed this pencil, because compared with the campaigns for the Mongol, Van Dyke, and the Microtomic I have come across comparatively little in terms of advertising:
“There was an advertising campaign in the New Yorker Magazine , and my mother was responsible for that—she was at that time in charge of public relations. That [ad] reawakened a certain amount of interest in the Blackwing, but it always had its fans, who would not use anything else.”
I learned more in an afternoon than the past several years of research. Now, the work begins to write it all down and fill-in the rest of the story.
Special thanks to Mr. and Mrs. Faber for their hospitality and generosity.