Boring
Welcome | What’s New?
Site Map | Usage Note

Become a Contributor
Really Boring
What is a Leadholder?
Leadholder History
Leadholder Mechanics
Leadholder Database
Yawn
References
Contributors
Leadholder Links
Contact D. B. Smith
A.W. Faber Castell TK 9400 prototype
image courtesy anonymous

A.W. Faber Castell TK 9400

(Prototype)

A.W. Faber Castell, Germany

lead diameter
mechanism
composition
variations
prototyping date
origin
2 mm
pushbutton spring clutch
wood barrel, metal fittings, plastic pushbutton
(production model) degree imprint: 7B to 9H
1939
Germany
   
see also German Patent 729093 “Füllbleistift”
production model A.W. Faber Castell TK 9400

(Update 2010 April:  I found the original 1939–42 German patent for the TK which corroborates the following story of this particular pencil.)

This is the one of the most mysterious pencils in the Leadholder galleries.  As far as I can tell, it is identical to the TK at the head of this page;  the mystery is the timing and circumstances by which it originated.

This was one of numerous pencils, pens, and other objects acquired directly from a member of the Faber family in Germany at the end of World War II (1945).  The man who purchased the items (a German citizen) moved to the United States sometime in 1945 and stored the items in his barn until 2002 when he sold his property and many of the things he had accumulated throughout his life. The box of Faber items was purchased at this time by the man who contacted me for an appraisal.  The story could of course be bogus, but the group of items included a number of very personal Faber objects that support the claim they were obtained from a member of the Faber family.  The personal items were purchased back from the man who contacted me by the descendants of Johann Faber.

According to Faber-Castell themselves, the “TK” pencil was introduced in 1948.  The US made 9400 Locktite was advertised as early as 1947.  During, and immediately after WWII, the German company and the US company were operating autonomously.  I believe the wooden TK pictured above is a prototype developed between 1939 and 1945, but not produced for sale until 1948.

A.W. Faber Castell TK 9400 (first generation) 3H obverse
A.W. Faber Castell TK 9400 (first generation) 3H side 2
reverse

A.W. Faber Castell TK 9400

A.W. Faber, Germany

lead diameter

mechanism
composition
variations
production date
origin
2 mm (3B thru 9H)
3.15 mm (7B thru 4B)
pushbutton spring clutch
wood barrel, metal fittings
degree imprint: 7B to 9H
1948 to 1950±
Germany
 
A.W. Faber Castell TK 9400 Instructions
  Instruction sheet for the TK 9400
explaining in horrifying detail
how to use it.
(click for enlargement).
see also German Patent 729093 “Füllbleistift”
A.W. Faber Castell TK9500 leadholder
US made A.W. Faber Castell 9400 Locktite

The original patent application for the TK was submitted in 1939 and issued in 1942.  Faber-Castell puts the date of introduction of the TK in 1948.  One of the examples of the TK on this page was manufactured prior to 1948, in fact sometime before 1945.

The TK, a number of people have informed me, originates from the German words “Techniker” and “Künstler” which translate as “technician” and “artist.” Someone correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe TK has become synonymous with drafting pencils in Germany.

A.W. Faber Castell TK 9400 package Four sides of the TK 9400 packaging.
A.W. Faber Castell TK 9400 (straight plastic barrel
courtesy Allan Macdonald collection

A.W. Faber Castell TK 9400

(straight plastic barrel, stamped degree, no white molding)

Company

lead diameter

mechanism
composition
variations
production date
origin
2 mm (3B thru 9H)
3.15 mm (7B thru 4B)
pushbutton spring clutch
plastic barrel, metal fittings
degree imprint: 7B to 9H
circa 1950 to 1952-ish
Germany
 
This style was the short-lived successor to the original wooden barreled TK 9400.  The barrel is an unpleasant cheap-feeling plastic of a type that turns powdery white where abraded.
A.W. Faber Castell TK 9400 (straight plastic barrel, box
  box
note:  This pencil is missing the original white ring at the tail end of the barrel.  See pencil below for example. 
The nosepiece and pushbutton were originally nickel plated.

A.W. Faber Castell TK 9400

(straight plastic barrel, white molded-in lettering)

A.W. Faber, Germany

lead diameter

mechanism
composition
variations
production date
origin
2 mm (3B thru 9H)
3.15 mm (7B thru 4B)
pushbutton spring clutch
plastic barrel, metal fittings
degree imprint: 7B to 9H
circa 1952
Germany
   
see also US Patent 02765551 “Pencil Label” 1952
This seems to be the least common variant of the TK 9400.  The white lettering of the imprint is actually a separately molded plastic part around which the green body of the barrel is molded.  A patent for this technique was applied for by the A.W. Faber company in 1952 (in Germany) and so this pencil probably dates from around that time.  I suspect the process was expensive and/or had a high failure rate as there do not seem to be many examples floating around.  In fact, this is the only one I’ve ever seen.  A less ambitious use of the molded in plastic technique has been used continuously on subsequent TK 9400s for the degree indication and tail trim as can be seen below.

I’m not sure what the Faber people were thinking with this huge debossed imprint that they continued to use into the 1970s.  A more wretched hive of villainy and scum... and microorganisms feeding on dead skin and oil from your hand... you will not find, young Skywalker.
Faber Castell TK 9400 (plastic with straight barrel)
courtesy Allan Macdonald collection

A.W. Faber Castell TK 9400

(straight plastic barrel, white tail molding)

A.W. Faber, Germany

lead diameter

mechanism
composition
variations
production date
origin
2 mm (3B thru 9H)
3.15 mm (7B thru 4B)
pushbutton spring clutch
plastic barrel, metal fittings
degree imprint: 7B to 9H
c. 1953 to c. 1960
Germany
 
 
Advertising brochure
included in the TK 9400 box.
(click for full brochure).
see also A.W. Faber-Castell 1957 catalog (Germany), pages 56 and 57
Faber Castell TK 9400 box side 1
Faber Castell TK 9400 box side 2

A.W. Faber Castell TK 9400

(molded grip, molded degree mark)

A.W. Faber, Germany

lead diameter

mechanism
composition
variations
production date
origin
2 mm (3B thru 9H)
3.15 mm (7B thru 4B)
pushbutton spring clutch
plastic barrel, metal fittings
degree imprint: 7B to 9H
1960s
Germany
   
A.W. Faber Castell TK 9400 with pushbutton lead pointer
  A.W. Faber Castell TK 9400 pushbutton/lead pointer
  pencil and isolated pushbutton/sharpener courtesy Allan Macdonald collection

A.W. Faber Castell TK 9400

(molded grip, pushbutton with integrated lead pointer)

A.W. Faber, Germany

lead diameter
mechanism
composition
variations
production date
origin
2 mm (3B thru 9H)
3.15 mm (7B thru 4B)
pushbutton spring clutch
plastic barrel, metal fittings
degree imprint: 7B to 9H
1960s
Germany
 
special features lead pointer integrated in pushbutton
A.W. Faber-Castell TK 9400 tapering tail, molded degree mark

A.W. Faber Castell TK 9400

(tapering tail, “A.W. Faber-Castell” imprint, molded degree mark)

A.W. Faber, Germany

lead diameter

mechanism
composition
variations
production date
origin
2 mm (3B thru 9H)
3.15 mm (7B thru 4B)
pushbutton spring clutch
plastic barrel, metal fittings
degree imprint: 7B to 9H
circa 1970s
Germany
 
A.W. Faber-Castell TK 9400 tapering tail, stamped degree mark
2 mm type in 3B–9H degrees

A.W. Faber Castell TK 9400 thick lead (3.15 mm) foil stamped degree mark
  3.15 mm type in 7B–4B degrees

A.W. Faber Castell TK 9400

(tapering tail; “A.W. Faber-Castell” imprint, foil stamped degree mark)

A.W. Faber, Germany

lead diameter

mechanism
composition
variations
production date
origin
2 mm (3B thru 9H)
3.15 mm (7B thru 4B)
pushbutton spring clutch
plastic barrel, metal fittings
degree imprint: 7B to 9H
circa 1980s
Germany
   
see also Faber-Castell (South America) catalog, circa early 1980, p 12
The 3.15 mm versions of the TK 9400 continued to use the style of molded-in imprint for years after the 2 mm version had been updated to the style shown above.
Faber-Castell TK 9400 (tapering tail; “Faber-Castell” imprint)

Faber-Castell TK 9400

(tapering tail; “Faber-Castell” imprint)

Faber-Castell, Germany

lead diameter

mechanism
composition
variations
production date
origin
2 mm (3B thru 9H)
3.15 mm (7B thru 4B)
pushbutton spring clutch
plastic barrel, metal fittings
degree imprint: 7B to 9H
late 1980s
Germany
   
see also Faber-Castell (South America) catalog, circa late 1980s, p 9
This model supplanted the US-made Locktite 9400 when Faber-Castell of Germany bought their US namesake.  Prior to this, the German made TK 9400 was not available in the USA


Box of six TK 9400s circa 1980s.
A.W. Faber Castell TK 9400 (molded grip, foil stamped degree mark)
3.15 mm example

A.W. Faber Castell TK 9400

(molded grip, foil stamped degree mark, darker green)

A.W. Faber, Germany

lead diameter

mechanism
composition
variations
production date
origin
2 mm (3B thru 9H)
3.15 mm (7B thru 4B)
pushbutton spring clutch
plastic barrel, metal fittings
degree imprint: 7B to 9H
early 1990s
Germany
   

Faber-Castell TK 9400

(tapering tail)

Faber-Castell, Germany

lead diameter

mechanism
composition
variations
production date
origin
2 mm (3B thru 9H)
3.15 mm (7B thru 4B)
pushbutton spring clutch
plastic barrel, metal fittings
degree imprint: 6B to 9H
after 1992 to present (2010)
Germany
   

This box contains six new TK 9400s. It is post-1992 when Faber-Castell decided to change from the green they'd been using since 1905 to a darker, trendier green.

Faber-Castell TK 9400 50 Year Commemorative Edition

Faber-Castell, Germany

lead diameter
mechanism
composition
variations
production date
origin
2 mm
pushbutton spring clutch
sterling silver barrel, nickel plated brass mechanism
imprinted with a serial number 1 through 1998
1998
Germany
 
special features

each individual example is imprinted with a serial number 1 through 1998. 
Remind me to look at the number on mine.

In 1998 Faber-Castell sold a limited edition 50 year commemorative sterling silver version of the TK 9400 pencil in a fancy wooden box.  One thousand nine hundred and forty-eight were made.  They are beautiful and expensive.  They are also dramatically heavy, which makes them fun to use.  For a while.