The old Eberhard Faber Pencil Factory in Brooklyn

Have you ever listened to 99% Invisible? It’s a fantastic podcast with features about, primarily, architecture and design (and starting in 2014, thanks to their Kickstarter, they’ll be producing episodes weekly!). The newest episode, “All the Buildings”, features James Gulliver, an artist on a mission to draw the buildings of New York City — all 700,000 plus of them.

One building in particular that they talked about was at 61 Greenpoint Avenue in Brooklyn — an old pencil factory:

Drawing by James Gulliver at Click image for original post.

Drawing by James Gulliver at Click image for original post.

After a minute or two of Googling, I found a photograph of this building:

Eberhard Faber Pencil Factory in Brooklyn Check out the story-tall terra cotta pencils at the top of this building: Eberhard Faber Pencil Factory

(Photographs are from Scouting New York. Check out the original post for lots of great information and more photographs.)

How cool is this? It’s the old corporate offices of the Eberhard Faber corporation, maker, of course, of Eberhard Faber pencils. Built in in the 1920s, it was vacated when the company shut down its Brooklyn factory and moved to Wilkes-Barre, PA in 1952. What they left behind was an amazing six-story art deco building with FREAKING PENCILS on it.

Print Magazine has an interview with a few graphic designers who has developed a relationship with this building. Read it when you get a chance; it’s a fun interview.

As of a couple years ago, other buildings from the factory campus were being turned into condos. The Pencil Factory Condos had a website that now seems to be defunct, so it’s unclear as to what is happening with them. I found an interesting (though cheesy) video on YouTube with a walkthrough of the building in question, showcasing some great looking loft spaces:

Next time I’m in NYC, I need to get to the Greenpoint neighborhood in Brooklyn to check this place out and get some pictures of my own.

Any Woodclinched readers have any stories about this building? I’d love to hear about them in the comments!

14 thoughts on “The old Eberhard Faber Pencil Factory in Brooklyn

  1. Pingback: Eberhard Faber, New York – Lexikaliker

  2. Further to Adair and Andy Welfie about forgotten stashes of Blackwings: if there are forgotten stashes of Eberhard Faber Colorbrite Colored pencils in there, I am ready to help–their light blue number 2105 is the best colored pencil, for my hand, ever made. Henry S

  3. where in greenpoint is this place? there is or was a large faber family on staten island, eberhard faber family so it got to be one and the same. curious as to where it is and like the rest of you, when next in NY and have some time, i’d like to to there and really take a look at something when i was last in NYC i kinda’ missed. a mistake i now want to correct. ps: if i do find any pencil left overs, which is highly doubtful, i’ll let you know and share what i get.

  4. Thanks for this article and pictures! My daughter noticed in the 1930 Census that my mother worked for a (unidentified) “Pencil Co.”. I told her it was Eberhart Faber and then Googled it and found this article. My father also worked in this building and it’s where they met. They were married in 1942.

  5. I currently work in this building, it is a co-working space named PencilWorks, similar to WeWork, keeping the Pencil in the name for obvious reasons. I knew it was a pencil factory but just read about the name of the factory and owner in the German book for my homework (I am not German, just learn it for fun :)).

    • Oh, that’s fantastic! Since I wrote this, I met a few people connected to that building (I worked with Jessica Hische’s husband, Russ Maschmeyer, for a while) and learned a bit about the building. Let me ask, Revi — have you been able to get into the basement to see if there’s any old, cool pencil memorabilia?

      • At ground level there are some business too, such as hipster barbers! I don´t know if there is anything underground… will ask, I think the owner of PencilWorks owns the building or his family. I wonder about the connection with Eberhard since he also got German last name.
        The only thing thing that might be original inside, besides the open structure with high ceilings and stuff is the fright elevator. It is super old and quite cool; doors open from the middle up and down with a pulley. A man is in charge of it, since it is somewhat manual still.

      • Hi Andy – Thanks for this photo and information. I have a wonderful, lengthy article from 1985 in the Philadelphia Inquirer about my cousin Tim Faber and the Eberhard Faber Pencil Company – its origins, why their pencils are yellow, etc. A really interesting and fun read. I can mail you a hard copy if you like, just need your name and address.

        Best regards,

        Whit Smyth

  6. After discharge from the military I worked as a laborer in this building for Eberhard Faber from April 1956 to August 1956. Could not have closed in 1952. Recall looking out window with Jimmy Hunt and seeing Customs Inspectors examining passenger baggage in front of Kent Street Pier which housed the Zim Israel Line. Remarked to him how I would love to have a job like that. In 1966, after eight years with Customs, I became a Customs Inspector. My brother Richard Gow, who had been a longshoreman on that pier as well as other piers in Greenpoiint also became a Customs Inspector in 1966.

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