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“Castell is Back!”

A.W. Faber Inc., Newark New Jersey, USA

  "Castell is back!" Where did it go, you ask? Beginning early in the 20th century, the Castell was manufactured for the US market by an agent of the German A.W. Faber company in New York City with leads imported from Germany. This arrangement was necessitated by the high tariffs against imported pencils put in place to protect the fledgling US pencil industry against cheap pencils brought in from places such as Germany, which at the time had very low labor costs. By importing just the lead, the tariff was avoided which more than offset the higher labor cost to assemble the pencils in the USA.

The two World Wars had a huge impact on the largely European based multi-national pencil industry which required graphite from as far away as Asia and Cedar wood from the south-east United States. At the outbreak of WWII, the imported leads for the Castell pencils were no longer available, so an alternative source needed to be found. As a consequence of The War, German owned assets in the US, including the A.W. Faber facilities, were seized and ownership was transferred to US investors.

To fill the market gap left by the popular Castell drawing pencil, the US A.W. Faber company introduced the "Winner" Techno-Tone drawing pencil, which used leads from a domestic source.

Once The War was over, relations between the estranged German A.W. Faber company and the US owned A.W. Faber were re-established and the Castell was re-introduced. The "Winner" pencil, prophetic as its name was, continued to be sold for only a short time after The War as a lower grade drawing pencil and was discontinued by 1950.