The Unmatched Legacy of German Pencil Manufacturing

When the topic of German-made vintage pencils comes up at your next social gathering (and if it doesn’t, are you even at the right cocktail party??), there’s one name you need to be familiar with: Faber.

The story begins in 1761 when a carpenter by the name of Kaspar Faber opened a small pencil factory in Stein, Germany. The business was named “A.W. Faber” after his son, Anton Wilhelm Faber, who grew the company into a flourishing pencil manufacturer.

German-born Eberhard Faber, a direct descendent of Kaspar Faber, crossed the Atlantic Ocean to become a pencil titan of his own right. The American branch of the Faber pencil dynasty began in 1848 when 26-year-old Eberhard went on a scouting trip for high-quality red cedar to ship back to his family’s pencil plant in Germany. By 1850, Eberhard had settled in New York while continuing to export cedar back to Stein.

Johann Faber, one of Eberhard’s older brothers, left in 1879 to start his own pencil business in Nuremberg. However, his company ended up merging back with A.W. Faber during the global economic crisis of the late 1920s.

In 1900, when Lothar Faber’s granddaughter married a count of Castell, the A.W. Faber enterprise was renamed Faber-Castell. But the Faber story doesn’t end there.

German-based Staedtler, one of the oldest industrial companies still in operation today, bought the European trademark rights for Eberhard Faber in 1978. But in 2010, Staedtler sold those rights to Faber-Castell, completing a full-circle reunification of all Faber brands under one roof.

New vintage pencil stickers for July

To celebrate the rich history of German pencil manufacturing, this month I’m featuring a trio of quality German-made pencils.

First up is the A.W. Faber Castell 4H. Sometime around the 1960s (give or take) A.W. Faber made the 9007 with a long ferrule and green eraser, which has a very cool look.

AW Faber Castell vintage green pencil

Next is a factory sharpened Mars 2886 5B by Staedtler. A rare lefty!

Mars Lumograph vintage german pencil

Last but not least is the Rafael No.3 by Johann Faber. Who doesn’t love a good round pencil with an artsy attitude?

Johann Faber Rafael vintage pencil

A total of 16 pencil-sticker combos have now been introduced. As with anything vintage, supplies are limited so get ‘em while you can.

Click the big button below to explore more than three dozen vintage German pencils for sale.