Pencil manufacturers in the news
Pencil manufacturers have been receiving some major media attention recently.
Behind the scenes, I would guess that Faber-Castell’s capable public relations staff have been very active. Faber-Castell’s 250th anniversary is next year, and the celebrations are starting. See this YouTube video for a behind the scenes view of how the “250″ human logo was formed and photographed.
An article in the Wall Street Journal suggests some local tensions in Nürnberg, with a friendly rivalry between Faber-Castell and Staedtler. The article mentions a 1995 lawsuit against Staedtler regarding Staedtler’s previous claim to have originated with their namesake Friedrich Staedtler in 1662, rather than J. S. Staedtler’s company founding in 1835.
Speaking of Friedrich Staedtler, a Nürnberg school was recently renamed in his honour.
There was also an article on Faber-Castell in the Economist, a periodical we’ve previously mentioned for their coverage of the pencil industry.
The Economist mentions a different lawsuit, a century earlier. There seems to be a thread between the past and present – the Faber company has long appreciated a good court battle. This case is the overturning of the Hyman erser patent in the US Supreme Court in 1875. I learned about this at The IPKat blog.
The ruling by Mr. Justice Hunt can be found here. I love the careful language, and daresay it is one of the finest contemplations of a pencil’s function that will be found. The ruling’s conclusion:
From the product side, we are still waiting to see what Faber-Castell’s 250th anniversary may bring. There does appear to be a limited edition case of art supplies in the market. (Search for “Alexander Vethers” to see a similar limited edition.)
This eBay seller is kind enough to enumerate the contents: hundreds of pencils, pastels, and other supplies – a complete set of Faber-Castell’s top tier of art supplies. The price (€1250 – about $US1725) is actually in line with what one might pay for these items individually.
There is no doubt more to come in 2011, and I’ll admit that I am hoping for something special in the lead pencil category. I also notice no official press release for this first anniversary offering – Faber-Castell is letting their vendors get the buzz, which sounds like a smart strategy to me.
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