In Praise of the Pencil

The German-American Heritage Foundation of the USA®

German-American Heritage Museum of the USA™

The German-American Heritage Museum of the USA™ opened in March, 2010 in a building once known as Hockemeyer Hall. Renovations were completed by the GAHF after acquiring the building in 2008. Located on 6th Street NW in the heart of the old European-American section of Washington, the Museum sits in what is now a thriving commercial neighborhood.

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Staedtler employees in the 19th century

Staedtler employees in the 19th century

April – May 2016

In Praise of the Pencil

The exhibit came to our museum from  the German-American Heritage Center in Davenport, Iowa. It tells the story of the German-born carpenter Friedrich Staedtler, who in 1662 became the first person to register a pencil business. 350 years later, the Staedtler business has expanded overseas to the United States, making it more long standing than its largest rival, Faber-Castell, founded in 1761.

This unique exhibit explored the significance of the pencil manufacturing industry to German heritage and culture and brought to life an often unexplored part of German history. Visitors to the exhibit were about to learn about Friedrich Staedtler, but also about cross-Atlantic industry and how the German pencil industry became intertwined with the United States. The exhibit also featured creative art pieces done by renowned artists that are composed entirely of Staedtler and Faber-Castell pencils.

Yes, there is a point to pencils, and like many other items we use on a daily basis, the humble pencil has a German heritage, too. 


The German-American Heritage Foundation of the USA®
German-American Heritage Museum of the USA™

719 Sixth Street, NW • Washington, DC 20001
Copyright 2018 German-American Heritage Foundation of the USA®