Today at The Pencil Factory at 47-61 Greenpoint Avenue, you can get an amazing haircut, or see an exciting new art exhibit, or even stop by our very own Greenpointers office, but between 1924 and 1956, that building lived up to its name and turned out pencils for the Eberhard Faber Pencil Company, one of the largest pencil manufacturers in the world. Faber had additional factories located in Germany, Canada, and Argentina, but Brooklyn was the heart of the enterprise. In fact, the Greenpoint Avenue plant was “one of Brooklyn’s most important factories, employing hundreds of workers, many of which were women.” Ace local historian Geoff Cobb included the Pencil Factory in his history of Greenpoint in 25 buildings, and 10 years ago this month, the City of New York recognized the importance of The Pencil Factory’s industrial and architectural history, and landmarked the building, establishing The Eberhard Faber Pencil Company Historic District. The district includes properties on Greenpoint Avenue, West and Kent Streets which were all originally part of the Pencil Factory complex.
The Eberhard Faber Pencil Company was a pencil industry Game Changer! The ingenuity of its products foreshadowed the creativity of businesses working out of the building today. For example, according to the site’s Historic District Designation Report, “Faber was responsible for many breakthroughs in the production of pencils and related items, including having been the first pencil manufacturer maker to merchandise pencils with color tips (known as Mongol pencils, they became the world’s most popular color pencil), the first to apply polishes in bright colors to the wood encasements, and the first to offer color pencils in sets.” That’s right. No Faber, no color pencils. We stand on the shoulders of giants, people! Continue reading