Back in 1929, before iPad kids were a hot topic on the internet (and before the internet), Brooklyn was a mecca for pencils thanks to the number of schools (and, subsequently, schoolchildren) in the borough. So since July is never too early to think about back-to-school (or back-to-Zoom?) shopping, The Standard Union wrote all about Brooklyn’s — and Greenpoint’s, specifically — relationship with the beloved writing tool in its July 22, 1929 issue.
At the time, Greenpoint was home to the Eberhard Faber Pencil Factory, a multi-building pencil-manufacturing enterprise at 37 – 61 Greenpoint Ave, 58 – 76 Kent St., 59 – 63 Kent St., 98 West St., and 100 – 106 West St. where it remained until the mid 1950s. Prior to landing in Greenpoint due to a fire, the factory was located in Manhattan at what is now the United Nations, which feels poignant, somehow.
While the factory’s operations may have moved to Pennsylvania and local school budgets are being slashed by Mayor Eric Adams, a pencil factory does still remain in Greenpoint — specifically the bar of the same name (Pencil Factory, drop the “Eberhard Faber”) at the corner of Greenpoint Avenue and Franklin Street.