Historic, but not famous

John Eberhard Faber, pencil maker

John Eberhard Faber  (December 6, 1822 – March 2, 1879), was a German-born American manufacturer of pencils in New York. His father, George Leonard Faber, was a descendant of the famous Faber family, one of ancient lineage in Bavaria engaged in the profession of manufacturing lead pencils. John moved to NYC in 1848 and opened a stationery store at No. 133 William Street in 1849.  The store was moved to 718-720 Broadway in 1877.

He explored ways to improve the pencil and in 1852, realized that the red cedar available in America was ideal for lead pencils. In 1861, he opened the first lead pencil factory near the East River, between 41st and 43rd Streets under the name of Eberhard Faber.


After a fire in 1872, he moved the pencil factory to the Greenpoint neighborhood of Northern Brooklyn. When Mr. Faber died in 1879, the pencil factory was the largest in the world.

Mr. Faber was married and had six children with his wife Jenny. After his father’s death, John Eberhard, Jr. took charge of the company. The brand has since been bought by PaperMate. The factory building, the first in the world to make colored pencils, is now commercial office space and living lofts. The buildings are still decorated with large pencils.

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