Polychromos 111th Anniversary

Polychromos 111th

1908 was a very busy year. Ernest Shackleton set off from New Zealand for Antarctica in the January, and a few months later Robert Peary went in the other direction from New York, heading for the North Pole. The publication of Baden-Powell's 'Scouting for Boys' boosted the spread of the Scout movement and the first Model T Ford rolled off the production line in Detroit. It was also the year that Faber-Castell's Polychromos pencils were introduced to the world.

Their name means 'many colours' and is very apt: the initial collection comprised 60 different colours, all carefully matched to standard watercolour paints, and there are now twice that many hues. They quickly gained a reputation as a top-quality product and have been used by the likes of designer Karl Lagerfeld and artist Oskar Kokoschka. The thick 3.8mm leads are oil-based, allowing a vivid laydown of bold colour with superb lightfast qualities. They're highly break-resistant, waterproof and smudgeproof.

Polychromos 111th

To commemorate 111 years of production, the company launched a very limited number of special edition tins of Polychromos pencils, which reflect the original 1908 release, complete with the original seal. Restricted to a single production run, they are available in collections of 12, 24 and 36, plus a tin of 12 short, unsharpened pencils just 12.8mm long, which are pretty cute and ideal for art on the go. The pencils also bear the former stamp design and the numbers of the colours are those that were used in the original production run.

Unlike the poles (which are a bit warmer than they were); the Scouts (not just boys anymore and not a walking staff in sight) and cars (more colours than just black), Faber-Castell's Polychromos artist pencils are pretty much the same as they were back in 1908: they're still top-quality coloured pencils and they still lay down bold, vibrant colours that have more than stood the test of time.

See what Claire thought about them here:

Polychromos 111th

13 March 2019


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