A selection from the 1965-66 Blackwing campaign launched by Eberhard Faber Inc.
The campaign was the brainchild of Julia Faber, widow of Eberhard Faber III (1893-1945), who became vice president of the company and later a chairman. It marks one of the relatively few times that the company advertised the Blackwing directly (i.e. compared to the Mongol or Van Dyke, etc.).
It seems Hogan wasn’t the only colonel at Stalag 13 who used Eberhard Faber Blackwing pencils.
And it looks like there were at least four more ready to go in his pencil pot:
Given that they were around on set, I suppose now the hunt is on to see how many cast members can be found holding a Blackwing.
Thanks again to reader Dan for the tip!
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.
Timeliness and timelessness.
There are two reasons why I can’t help thinking of a rocket shooting past a star when I look at this photo. First, the obvious: the pencil and clamp ferrule kind of look like a rocket, and the flash (or reflected lamp) looks like a bright star.
The other reason? Because this Blackwing belongs to composer Laurie Spiegel, whose piece Harmonices Mundi (The Harmony of the World) is, at this very moment, on two Golden Records speeding toward interstellar space aboard Voyager I and Voyager II.
It might just be me, but there is something about this photograph that is unimaginably hopeful.
Thanks to Laurie for sharing this photo, and for all the other gifts she’s given us.
Say what you will about Bob Crane, just don’t forget to mention he was seen using an Eberhard Faber Blackwing.
Since the Blackwing first appeared in 1934, I suppose it’s technically possible one could have found its way to a prisoner-of-war camp in World War II Germany (the Eberhard Faber factory in Germany, however, did not manufacture the Blackwing 602). But I’m not so certain that the creators of Hogan’s Heroes were all that concerned with historical accuracy.
The mid- to late-1960s, when this series was televised, was a significant era for the 602. The first and only national advertising campaign for the Blackwing, designed and implemented in 1965 by Julia Faber (the widow of Eberhard Faber III), appeared in several magazines including The New Yorker.
Thanks to reader Dan for the tip!