Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Some Sticks From 1971

I recently had another rush of blood to the head and bought a mixed lot of pencils online, described simply as “Old pencil case full of pencils – some used, some not”. I am rather pleased with my purchase.

The pencil case had a persons name and school class number written inside, along with the year “1971”. This all seems about right. Basically all the pencils are new to me. Here’s a few.

“Eberhard Faber, Made in USA, 1924”, and on the other side “Do Unto Others As You Would THE GOLDEN RULE that They Should Do Unto You” “Koh-I-Noor, Made by L & C Hardtmuth In Austria” and on the other side “2B, British Graphite Drawing Pencil, Compressed Lead”. So, it’s British yet made in Austria? I wonder if they mean the graphite came from Britain?
“Made In China, THREE STARS, 600, HB”. Well it doesn’t look any better or worse than all the other pencils. “Berol, EAGLE JEANS, USA, HB, 2”. The paint finish appears to be an attempt to imitate denim fabric, as in a pair of blue jeans. (Note - please read the comments. This pencil really is made from jeans !)A square unpainted, unmarked, raw pencil.

A bunch of those little tiny notebook pencils.
A round pencil, "Made In Bavaria, A W FABER, Established 1761, 150, A W Faber, HB"No photo because its gold on yellow and so doesn't really show up, but a Made in Bavaria Swan Manifold Ink Pencil.

To finish - a number of used coloured pencils. They are just plain bare wood, round, with the markings simply pressed into the wood.The first few letters of the marking have been sharpened off, but reconstructed it would apparently read, “Creta Laevis, E Wolff & Son, Inventors, London, (the colour)”. The colours I have are Green No 1, Green No 3, Olive Green, Sepia No 1 and Bn Pink. The web seems strangely silent on these Creta Laevis, but apparently they are a sort of pastel pencil. Anyone know anything interesting about them? Are they still made, etc?

Note how the core does not go through to the end of these Creta Laevis pencils, unlike their graphite cousins to the right in the photo. I guess if the pastel core is expensive, it makes sense for it to stop a little short of the end so that none of the core is wasted when the pencil becomes too short. (Note - please read the comments - I have added the photo below to show how this pencil is not made as two equal halves, rather the join is about 2/3rds of the way through.)

An old pencil packet was also part of the mixed lot.


Anonymous said...

Those Eagle Jeans pencils are actually made out of recycled jeans.

Anonymous said...

Those Creta Lævis may be quite old. This item from Notes and Queries in the 1880s mentions their use in the 1840s. Some more here.

As well, they don't look like modern pencils with two halves glued together, but rather like pre-slat pencils from the 19th century.

A good find indeed.

Kiwi-d said...

A pencil made from jeans!? Top joke! Well actually, it semed so crazy it might actually be true so I had a close look and clearly it isn't wood. A quick Google indicates that it is indeed made from recycled off-cuts from a jeans factory. Crazy! So, thank you very much 'Anonymous' for educating me. The only problem is the article I found was 1994 calling it a new product, which doesn't fit with 1971.

Stephen - I had seen the first of those articles you link. I wouldn't dream of them being from that date, but clearly they are old. I have added another picture in to show that you are quite correct about it not being the normal two halves - its a more like a 1/3rd - 2/3rds construction. Interesting stuff.

I will hope for more comments and information on both these pencils.

Unknown said...

Nice find, Dave! And I recall the jeans pencils, as well - my first thought was "Whoa, that's not from '71!" But I thought they first appeared in the '80's.

Kiwi-d said...

Hi r.e. - I should have mentioned that the 1994 article on the Jeans pencil was not from the USA, so it could well have been new to that part of the world, but old in the USA.

Did you ever use or sharpen a Jeans pencil?

Germ said...

Pencils are still made out wood? I thought only cavemen used those way back in the day b4 thin lead mechanical pencils became cool?


Kiwi-d said...

I must be getting really slow and nearly blind. Obviously with a join like that, those Creta Laevis can’t have a round core. So I looked yet again, and they don’t. The core or coloured lead is square. " 'Curiouser and curiouser' said Alice..."

Glen Mullaly said...

For my two-cents worth the Berol Eagle Jeans appeared to me to be from the 90s as well. A quick bit of research brought up advertising promoting their release by Berol in "Discount Store News", a U.S. trade publication, in'94.

Kiwi-d said...

Well it looks like my pencil case is a bit of a mixed bag. The actual pencil case itself clearly predates the 90's, there's no doubt it was from about 1971. Equally though it looks like its contents are from quite a range of dates. We've got the Berol Jeans from the 90's, the Creta Laevis from...? Possibly the 40's or 50's, maybe much earlier, maybe later. Not pictured in my posting are several advertising pencils with companies and brandnames from the 50's to early 70's era. The majority of the pencils are actually unused so I think this pencil case was really someones informal little collection. That would help explain the presence of the rather uncommon (for this country) pencil brands, etc.

Anonymous said...

This is a bit late, but I remember using Berol Eagle Jeans pencils when i grew up (through elementary school in Canada in the early-mid 90's). Apart from the novelty of being made (reputedly, at least) out of jeans, I remember them being pretty annoying actually. The whole pencil was this weird, soft, highly bendable (compared to a regular pencil) plastic-y material, and the lead was seemed easy to break. The pencils themselves certainly broke frequently enough as well. All in all, they were almost identical in feel to the regular Berol Eagle, which was also made of what felt like the same stuff, only wood-coloured and painted yellow

kiwi-d said...

Crikey. Just noticed on eBay a very recent sale of 7 of these Creta Laevis pencils in original box for GBP 117 / USD 165.