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Guide to the Eberhard Faber Pencil Company collection ARC.028

128 Pierrepont Street
Brooklyn, NY, 11201

Brooklyn Historical Society

Collection processed by Patricia Glowinski

This finding aid was produced using the Archivists' Toolkit on March 26, 2012
English using Describing Archives: A Content Standard

Descriptive Summary

Creator: Eberhard Faber Pencil Company.
Title: Eberhard Faber Pencil Company collection
Dates [inclusive]: 1924-1988
Quantity: 1.5 Linear feet in one manuscript box and one oversize drop front box.
Text [Oversize]: ARC.028 Box 2 of 2
Mixed materials [Box]: ARC.028 Box 1 of 2
Call Phrase: ARC.028
Sponsor: This collection was processed and described as part of the project, 'Uncovering the Secrets of Brooklyn's 19th Century Past: Creation to Consolidation,' funded by the Council on Library and Information Resources.

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Historical Note

The Eberhard Faber Pencil Company began as a U.S. subsidiary branch of A.W. Faber Company in 1849. Eberhard Faber's great grandfather, Casper Faber, began to manufacture and market pencils in the village of Stein, located near Nuremberg, Bavaria (now Germany), in 1761. Casper Faber's son, Anton Wilhelm (A.W.), took over the management of the business in 1784 and grew the business. He eventually renamed it A.W. Faber Company. The company continued under several more generations of Fabers, until Eberhard Faber moved to New York City to manage a subsidiary branch of A.W. Faber Company.

The original New York City office of A.W. Faber Company was located at 133 William Street in Manhattan. In 1858, Eberhard Faber expanded its operations to include the manufacture of rubber bands and rubber erasers. This factory was located in Newark, New Jersey. Until 1860, A.W. Faber Company was still exporting its pencils to the U.S. In 1861, the company opened its first U.S. pencil factory on East 42nd Street, on what is the present-day location of the United Nations. After a fire destroyed the factory in 1872, the A.W. Faber Company moved its U.S. manufacturing to the Greenpoint neighborhood of Brooklyn, although it kept its sales office in Manhattan.

When Eberhard Faber died on March 2, 1879, his sons Eberhard II (John) and Lothar W. took over the management of the company. After years of conflict between the German and U.S. branches of the company, the U.S. branch split ties with A.W. Faber Company. First incorporated as E. Faber Pencil Company in 1898 and finally as Eberhard Faber Pencil Company in 1904, the factory in Greenpoint grew to envelop two square city blocks bounded by Greenpoint Avenue, West Street, Java Street, and Franklin Street. In 1923, a new six-story building was also added. By 1924, Eberhard Faber Pencil Company had sales offices in New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Boston, Philadelphia, Atlanta, and Dallas. The factory remained at its Greenpoint location until 1956 when it moved its operations and headquarters to Wilkes-Barre, PA. In 1987, Eberhard Faber Pencil Company was sold to A.W Faber-Castell.


  1. Faber-Castell USA. (accessed June 29, 2010).
  2. Habstritt, Mary. "Eberhard Faber's Pencil Factory," Archive of Industry. (accessed June 29, 2010).
  3. The Story of the Oldest Pencil Factory in America. New York: Eberhard Faber Pencil Company, 1924.

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Scope and Contents note

The collection consists of materials relating to the Eberhard Faber Pencil Company, the oldest pencil manufacturing company in the United States. The collection, dating from 1924 to 1988 and measuring 1.5 linear feet, includes product catalogues, promotional materials, a company account ledger, an employee sales manual, photographs, and a publication describing the activities and history of the Eberhard Faber Pencil Company. Also included is a promotional portfolio of pencil sketches, published by the Eberhard Faber Pencil Company. The collection is organized into two series: Records and  Photographs.

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Access Points

Document Type

  • Brochures
  • Employees' manuals
  • Exterior views
  • Interior views
  • Ledgers (account books)
  • Photographic prints
  • Photographs
  • Trade catalogs

Subject Organizations

  • Eberhard Faber Pencil Company.

Subject Topics

  • Manufactures
  • Pencil industry -- United States

Subject Places

  • Brooklyn (New York, N.Y.)
  • Greenpoint (New York, N.Y.)

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Administrative Information

Conditions Governing Access

Open to researchers without restriction.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright will remain in effect for 120 years following the date of creation. Photographs in this collection will enter the public domain circa 2040. For information on securing rights to publish or reproduce, please see the Brooklyn Historical Society Reproduction Rights Policy.

Preferred Citation

Identification of item, date (if known); Eberhard Faber Pencil Company collection, ARC.028, Box and Folder number; Brooklyn Historical Society.

Other Finding Aids

There is a detailed handwritten inventory list located in the front of manuscript Box 1.Item level description and digital versions of images from the collection are available for searching via the image database in the library. Please consult library staff for more information.

Processing Information note

Minimally processed to the series level.

This collection combines the accessions 1988.017, 1988.019, and V1988.035.

Photograph Records

Item-level description and digital versions of images from the collection are available for searching via the online image database.

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Container List

Series 1: Records, 1924-1988. 1.4 Linear feet in one manuscript box and one oversize drop front box.

Scope and Contents

This series includes a company account ledger, 1924-1926; Eberhard Faber brochures and product catalogs for the years, 1942, 1943, 1944, 1947, 1951, 1954, and 1956-1957; leaflets describing and promoting pastels and crayons; an employee sales manual; color charts for pencils; two letters of correspondence; clippings; a course booklet for teachers titled "Color in Camouflage"; a portfolio of pencil sketches promoting lead pencils; and a 75th anniversary promotional publication titled "The Story of the Oldest Pencil Factory in America." The oversized company ledger is located in Box 2 of the collection.

Series 2: Photographs, circa 1920 to 1949. 0.1 Linear feet in one folder.

Scope and Contents Note

This series contains black-and-white photographic prints that document the Eberhard Faber Pencil Company factory located in the Greenpoint neighborhood of Brooklyn. Included in the series are photographs of machinery used in the factory, an exterior photographic rendering of the factory, and interior photographs of the factory. The interior photographs include images of workers on the job, such as the Box and Labeling Department, and images documenting the manufacturing process. Also included in this series are photographs of a 1943 sales dinner and photographic portraits of the founder, Eberhard Faber, and his sons, Eberhard II (who changed his name from John), and Lothar W. Faber. This series is located in Box 1 of the collection.

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