Quick Summary:

  1. At some point, there was a comparatively dramatic change in the Blackwing’s length, color, and imprint.
  2. I hypothesized that this change could possibly be linked to Eberhard Faber’s 1956 relocation from New York to a state-of-the-art plant in Pennsylvania (pencilvania?).
  3. Images from the 1956-57 Eberhard Faber catalog did not support this idea.
  4. After comparing other catalogs and hearing from collectors knowledgable in such things, I’ve learned that catalog images are often inaccurate and cannot be relied upon for purposes of dating.
  5. Awesome.

I was looking through Dennis Smith’s excellent site leadholder.com and came across his examples of Microtomic pencils, which are close cousins to the Blackwing. This example is dated to the 1950s, but more importantly it is associated with the Eberhard Faber factory in Brooklyn, not Wilkes-Barre (image from leadholder.com).

The length of this pencil matches the newer Blackwings. Even though the given date was “1950s”—which could include the years after the move—the given location remains compelling. If the location and dates are accurate it suggests that the first of the longer Blackwing pencils were not from the new plant in Pennsylvania. The last of the shorter Blackwings then could possibly date from the mid-1940s to the early 1950s rather than to the late 1950s.

This thing about the catalogs is a real drag.