The history of the Van Dyke 601 is as a cousin to the Blackwing 602 and Microtomic. It was first released in 1900 as a drawing pencil. In 1921, it became the first Eberhard Faber pencil with the Blackwing-style “clamp” eraser. The Microtomic Van Dykes have since ceased production. A popular Van Dyke was the 601. The 601 used this rectangular-shaped “clamp” eraser. The 601s are now scarce.
Here are some of the specific differences between the Van Dyke 601 and other pencils:
Lead: The Van Dyke 601 had a soft lead that was easy to write with. This made it ideal for artists and writers who needed a pencil that could produce a smooth, even line. Other pencils often had harder leads, which could be more difficult to write with.
Barrel: The Van Dyke 601 had a hexagonal barrel that made it easy to grip and control. This was important for people who needed to write for long periods of time. Other pencils often had round barrels, which could be more difficult to grip.
Materials: The Van Dyke 601 was made with high-quality materials, including a brass ferrule and a cedar wood barrel. This made it a durable pencil that could withstand everyday use. Other pencils were often made with less expensive materials, which could make them more prone to damage.
Eberhard Faber, a German-born pencil maker, founded the Eberhard Faber Pencil Company in New York City in 1861. The company resembled Faber’s family’s 100-year-old pencil enterprise, A. W. Faber.
In 1848, Faber traveled to the United States to scout for high-quality red cedar, which was used to make pencils. He settled in New York City in 1850 and at first sold stationery. He also exported cedar back to Germany.
In 1861, Faber opened the first graphite pencil factory in the America. The factory was located in Manhattan, on the site of the current United Nations Headquarters. In 1872, a fire destroyed the factory. Faber reconstructed in Brooklyn, and the new factory operated until 1956.
The Eberhard Faber Pencil Company brought German lead pencilmaking technology to America. It created hundreds of jobs for those living in Brooklyn. Many of its workers were women.
The company was acquired by Faber-Castell in 1994. The Eberhard Faber Pencil Factory was designated a historic district by the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission in 2007.
What’s in a Pencil?
Here are the ingredients of a pencil:
Graphite: Graphite is a soft, dark mineral that is used to make the lead of the pencil.
Clay: Clay is used to bind the graphite together and make it harder.
Wood: Wood is used to make the barrel of the pencil.
Ferrule: A ferrule is a metal band at the tip of the pencil used to strengthen the “graphite sandwich” and also hold the eraser.
Eraser: An eraser is used to erase pencil marks.
Making a Pencil
Here are the steps on how to make a pencil:
Graphite and clay are mixed together in a specific ratio. The ratio of graphite to clay determines the hardness of the pencil lead.
A mixture is then ground into a fine powder.
The powder is then pressed into a mold to create the lead of the pencil.
The lead is then sandwiched into two halves of a wooden barrel.
The ferrule is then placed over tip
The eraser is then attached to the end of the ferrule.
The pencil is then ready to be used.
- Year Started: 1921
- Year Ended: 1990
- Origin Of Name: Artist Name plus hardness of the lead
- Location Sales: Worldwide
- Brand Name Predecessor: N/A
- Brand Name Successor: N/A
- Owner Original: Eberhard Faber
- Owner While In Use: Eberhard Faber
- Owner Successor: N/A
- Year Resurrected: N/A
- What’s Popular Today: Eberhard Faber
- Naics Code: 339940
- Location Headquarters: Brooklyn, New York USA