Photo of the Week: Eberhard Faber Pencil Company Collection

[Eberhard Faber boxing and labelling department], circa 1920, v1988.35.2;Eberhard Faber Pencil Company collection, ARC.028; Brooklyn Historical Society.

[Eberhard Faber boxing and labelling department], circa 1920, v1988.35.2;Eberhard Faber Pencil Company collection, ARC.028; Brooklyn Historical Society.

The photo of the week depicts employees in the Eberhard Faber Pencil Company’s boxing and labelling department, around 1920, in the Greenpoint neighborhood of Brooklyn. The company began in Nuremberg, Bavaria (now Germany) in 1761 when Casper Faber began manufacturing and marketing pencils in his village of Stein. The business continued to grow and expand through many generations of Fabers, eventually moving to NYC to open the subsidiary branch of A.W. Faber Company in 1849.

In 1861, the company opened its first U.S. pencil factory on East 42nd Street, on what is now the present day location of the United Nations. After a fire destroyed the factory in 1872, the company moved to the Greenpoint neighborhood of Brooklyn. The factory grew to envelop two square city blocks bounded by Greenpoint Avenue, West Street, Java Street, and Franklin Street. The factory remained in Greenpoint until 1956 when it moved its operations and headquarters to Wilkes-Barre, PA.

The photo of the week is from the Eberhard Faber Pencil Company collection comprised of materials relating to the Eberhard Faber Pencil Company, including product catalogs, promotional materials, sales manuals, photographs, and publications. To see more photographs from this collection, check out this gallery. And check out this recent story on one of America’s last pencil factories.

Eberhard Faber was also one of the largest employers of women in early 20th-century Brooklyn. Their story, and the story of other factory women, is featured in BHS’s new long-term exhibition, Waterfront, on view at our DUMBO location. Learn more about the exhibition here.

Interested in seeing more photos from BHS’s collection? Visit our online image gallery, which includes a selection of our images. Interested in seeing even more historic Brooklyn images? Visit our Brooklyn Visual Heritage website here. To search BHS’s entire collection of images, archives, maps, and special collections visit BHS’s Othmer Library Wed-Sat, 1:00-5:00 p.m. library@brooklynhistory.org

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