I keep a few Graf von Faber-Castell (GvFC) pencils, the ones with the silver-plated cap, in the wooden gift box that came with the GvFC Perfect Pencil. There’s something else I keep in this box: The GvFC eraser. You’d think they’d play well together, but unfortunately they don’t.
When I opened the box this weekend, after not having used it for a few weeks, I saw that the eraser got brown where it touched the wood. No problem, I don’t mind – my Staedtler Mars Plastic got brown when I stored it in my Sonnenleder Lasse case. The Staedtler / Sonnenleder combination did however not have any negative effect on the Lasse case. Back to Graf von Faber-Castell: I don’t mind the eraser changing colour, but what I do mind is that the wooden box changed. The colour changed where the eraser touched the inside of the lid and around the area of discolouration is a gluey layer of something – very sticky when you touch it.
Faber-Castell tries to use environmentally friendly production techniques, e.g. water-based varnish. I wonder whether that has something to do with this problem I encountered.
This is actually the second problem I have with this wooden box.The first problem was that one of the corners was bend. I am not sure whether this was due to bad packaging, I guess it was more likely because the parcel delivery service were not careful. I was able to fix this corner issue more or less by bending the corner back and by painting the discoloured wood there with a brown Stabilo marker.
I am not sure what to do about this new issue though. Use sandpaper to remove the sticky layer? …and never store the eraser in the box again? …or complain to Faber-Castell?
For now I left the eraser in the wooden box, this time wrapped in paper.
Congratulations to the winners of the first Bleistift giveaway. I’ll send your prizes out first thing tomorrow morning and will also include a few other pencils I have lying around, including the Faber-Castell 1117 and a Graf von Faber Castell pencil.
The first number I got from random.org was 20, this means Kartike E from Indonesia gets the first prize. She chose the rubber-tipped version of the Noris, the Noris 122 HB.
The next number from random.org was 16 – Palimpsest from the UK wins the Welsh-made sketching pencils.
Number 15 came next. That was a post by myself, so I requested another number from random.org instead, which was number 5: Lexikaliker from Germany. Since he already has some Staedtler Tradition 110s he was kind enough to give someone else the chance to win. Thank you! The replacement number I got was the 13, which means that Sheryl C from the USA wins the blister pack with Welsh-made Staedtler Tradition 110s.
Thanks again to all who took part. I hope the winners will receive the pencils soon.
If you live in the UK you might like this: I noticed that The Pen Shop in Manchester (Trafford Centre) offers a 30% discount on Pelikan pens. The discounts are even better for Graf von Faber-Castell pens: they are 1/3 off. There is a good chance that other stores of this chain offer similar discounts. The Pen Shop is not cheap in the first place – which means that many of their Pelikan pens are not really cheaper than in some online shops. Some of their Graf von Faber-Castell pens are however real bargains I haven’t seen that “well priced” before (I don’t want to call them cheap). Unfortunately they didn’t have the GvFC mechanical pencil I am interested in.
These discounts seem to be across the range, i.e. including mechanical pencils, fountain pens, etc. Some of the (not so exciting) Pelikan discounts are available online, too, but the GvFC discount are unfortunately not available online.
The information I was given by the employee implied that the discounts would last until they sold these pens/brands off, but I don’t believe this as I was told something similar in the same shop in December 2009, but back then the discount were only for a short period of time.
What a nice surprise. I was just just driving home from work when I turned the radio on and heard the end of “Quick on the Draw“, a programme from Radio 4′s In Business series of programmes. This programme picked up two topics that The Economist covered over the last few months: Staedtler vs. Faber-Castell and the Mittelstand. Today’s Radio 4 programme featured an interview with Axel Marx, Managing Director of Staedtler, and Count Anton-Wolfgang von Faber-Castell. Axel Marx talked about the Wopex and Count Anton-Wolfgang von Faber-Castell talked about the perfect pencil and the luxurious Graf von Faber-Castell collection. I only heard the second half, but hope to listen to the whole programme on the BBC iPlayer soon1. I am not sure whether the content can be accessed outside the UK, though. If not: the programme will be repeated on Sunday, 17th May 2011, at 21:30 on BBC Radio 4. Even if you are outside the UK you should be able to listen to Radio 4 live over the Internet.
It was nice to hear people speaking with a Franconian accent on the radio, even though the accent was not very strong.
I was not surprised to hear Count Anton-Wolfgang von Faber-Castell in this programme. He is the one who is often representing Faber-Castell in the media. Last month there was a rare chance to see his brother – in a children’s programme on the TV channel of the public broadcasting authority for the German Freistaat (Republic) of Bavaria. The programme (“Ralphi”) explained how pens and brushes are manufactured and Faber-Castell was represented by …not Count Anton, but Count Andreas von Faber-Castell, who settled in Australia in the 1970s.
According the the information currently displayed on the BBC iPlayer page the programme will be available online until 2099, if I access the programme with my phone the programme is said to be online for about 300 more days …but usually programmes are only available for a week, so I would not be surprised if this programme will disappear from the iPlayer [↩]
Officemuseum.com has a nice page about the history of the lead pencil, where you can also find a picture of an early pencil vending machine.
If you search for “pencil vending machine” in the search engine of your choice you might be surprised how many different types of pencil vending machines there still are today.
…and a last link: some authors still start the process of writing a book on a piece of paper. Award-winning children’s author Donna McDine used her favourite Graf Von Faber-Castell pen for the first draft of her latest book. The only question remaining is: was it a pencil?