Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Vintage Art Supplies Spotlight: Eberhard Faber Mongol box and Conte Pastel Pencils boxed set

Just continuing to share some Flickr shots of recently donated art supplies.  This box of Eberhard Faber Mongol watercolor pencils folds out into two compartments that originally must have held 12 pencils each.  They become stand up easels for easy viewing and color selection. Made a color chart on watercolor paper, and found that they could still be activated with a wet brush. Most produced a pale wash, and a couple (Purple and French green) were not very soluble.  Similar boxes were sold in plastic sets in South America in 1970s, so I would guess that this vintage cardboard box must have been around in the mid XX century, but most E-bay postings I find just call it "vintage" without specifying a precise year of production.  Made in the USA
Conte pastel pencils boxed sets (Made in France) have been around for a while and can still be found at art supply stores and online retailers.  These vintages sets were housed in cardboard boxes with built-in slots and padding to protect the delicate leads against breakage.  Modern packaging is a bit more compact usually consisting of a plastic tray housed in a tin box.  The abrasive component in this pastel leads can wear down the edge of handheld sharpeners' blades rather rapidly, so it is usually best to sharpen them with a utility or pocket knife by whittling the wooden casing away and touching up the actual pastel core with a sandpaper pad.  Found their colors to be pretty bright while making a reference color chart.  I do not tend to use them much, for I dislike how rough they feel on the paper surface and the mess of debris that they tend to release as they crumble apart under pressure.  Thus they are more suitable for a dedicated work studio environment where you can control and manage the pastel dust.  Yet they should all prove useful as part of the pool of assorted art supplies that we keep on hand for students to try at the Art Center.

1 comment:

J. Francis said...

I just won a bid on eBay for three sets of the Eberhard Faber Mongol colored pencils in the plastic stand up boxes for $10.00. And as you said they simply said, vintage. But being as old as I am I remember these from the mid 70’s, they were great to work with back then and the ones I received today work just as well. I wasn’t sure when I placed the bid if the pigments might have deteriorated, but to my surprise they are just fine. Also you can tell a lot about the quality of the wood used in pencils by the way they sharpen. Using a hand sharpener watch to see how the wood peels off, what you see one continuous ribbon like you were trying to peel an apple without breaking the peel. Cheaper wood will flake of rather than forming a ribbon. Ten dollars for three sets, I think I got a great deal. And at almost 70 years old I’m sure they will last me the rest of my life.