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  The Tale of the Five Fabers & the Pink PearlJul 03, 2013 2:12 AM PDT | url
Added 2 new A* pages:What follows was originally to be a footnote to part one of my Supermassive Eraser Round-Up; I was curious about the "Eberhard Faber" branding on the old Pink Pearl eraser I used as a scale reference in that article's lead photo, and decided to try look up the history of the Pink Pearl--but all I could find was a mass of fragmentary, contradictory articles, and the more I looked into it, the more complicated the mess became. The main trouble may be the fact that the "Faber" name was used by at least five separate companies in the past fifty years, and even normally reliable sources have gotten them mixed up with each other. Untangling the story of the Pink Pearl, which went through a number of these Fabers, took some doing, and my resulting consolidated story is no doubt rife with huge mistakes...but here's my delayed footnote of the Faber story, as best I could piece it together from the Internet:
* Note that this is a very old Pink Pearl; current Pearls bear the Paper Mate logo. The art supply world is somewhat incestuous, you see, and in fact the Pearl, the Staedtler Mars Plastic eraser that was next to it in the previous article, and the various Faber-Castell items (markers, pencils) I've mentioned in the past are all related: Kasper Faber started his enterprise in Bavaria in 1761; his great-great-great-granddaughter married into the Counts of Castell in 1900, creating the Faber-Castell dynasty; meanwhile, great-grandson John Eberhard Faber, managing the company's New York office, founded his own pencil-making operation on the side, where the United Nations building is now, in 1861 (brother Lothar was managing the main Faber business, and another brother, Johann, set up his own pencil operation in Brazil in 1876--it would merge back into Faber-Castell in the 1930s).
The German branch, A.W. Faber-Castell, split with Eberhard Faber's company in in 1903. During WWI, A.W. Faber-Castell, being a German company and thus a wartime enemy, lost trademark rights to the Faber-Castell brand in the US; their US branch continued independently under the name Faber-Castell Corporation; A.W. Faber-Castell bought a 25% share in Faber-Castell Corporation after WWII.
In 1978, things in Europe took a new twist: "When European rights to the Eberhard Faber name came up for sale in 1978, Faber-Castell was too weak from the collapse of slide rules to pay. Staedtler snapped it up and started making Eberhard Faber products near Nuremberg, in competition with Faber-Castell." A.W. Faber-Castell would buy the European rights to the Eberhard Faber name back in 2010.
Meanwhile back in the States, though, still-independent Faber-Castel Co. took over Eberhard Faber Inc. in 1987. In 1994, A.W. Faber-Castell re-acquired trademark rights to the Faber-Castell name in the United States, in exchange selling their share in Faber-Castell Co., which was purchased in its entirety by Newell, who--rather ironically, considering the European situation--changed the brand back to Eberhard Faber.
Newell merged with Rubbermaid in 1999; in 2000, Newell Rubbermaid acquired Gillette's stationary products division, including the Paper Mate brand, under which the once Eberhard Faber Pink Pearl is now branded. Whew!
I think my "Eberhard Faber" Pink Pearl (John Eberhard Faber came up with that name himself) probably dates from the 1994-to-2000-ish period when Newell had the rights, before they aquired Paper Mate, which means I probably got it during my junior/senior years in college, '94-'96; the only other alternative would be the pre-1987 independent Eberhard Faber period, but that would mean I had this one as far back as grade school, which...probably isn't the case. : P It's kind of tough to find Pink Pearls with this particular configuration of print stamped on them. You might even find one with "Sanford" instead of "Eberhard Faber" or "Paper Mate"; Sanford was an independent writing product company before they were acquired by Newell in 1992.
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