My Collection – Photos and Commentary

Swan USA

Some of the major German pencil companies had subsidiaries in the United States.  The Swan Pencil Co., based in New York, was a subsidiary of Schwan.  Swan produced several brands —

Swan Brands

Othello and Fortuna are major Schwan brands.

Tiger 440 may be original to Swan —


As evidenced by the wartime plastic and cardboard ferrules, Swan continued to produce and sell pencils during WWII.

8 responses

  1. Interesting background…

    January 20, 2013 at 9:54 pm

  2. thegardensofboxwoodmanor

    Reblogged this on The Gardens of Boxwood Manor's Blog and commented:
    Who knew about pencil collections?

    September 13, 2013 at 2:45 pm

  3. Anonymous

    Swan Pencil Co. was not a subsidairy of Schwan-STABILO. Swan Pencil Co. was a privately held corporation founded in 1927 and owned by the Hosselet family. It imported the Schwan-Stabilo products from Germany but also manuafctured in the US under it’s own trademarks and licensed trademarks of Schwan. In 1982 the company reached agreement with Schwan-STABILO to return distribution rights for the US market and at that time Schwan incorporated its own US c subsidiary.

    October 29, 2013 at 1:56 pm

    • Ahhh…. I can’t say the information I give about company histories and relationships are completely authoritative or accurate. Mostly, I infer things from looking at the pencils and doing a cursory internet search, and I try not to say too much. You, on the other hand, seem to be a Swan expert. I bet you’re Steve Hosselet, author of another comment today! Right? Tell us more.

      October 29, 2013 at 4:40 pm

      • Steve Hosselet

        Yes, you are correct, this comment of mine came through as anonymous because I am a novice at this. Learned to put my name in by the second try ! I was the third generation of the Hosselet family to be associated with Swan Pencil Co., Inc. My grandfather entered into a business agreement with Schwan Bleistift Fabrik (now Schwan-STABILO) in 1927 and we held distribution rights for Schwan products until the early 80’s. Originally we only imported from Germany but then aslo began producing locally (at Red Cedar Pencil, Co., Lewisburg, TN) under certain Schwan trademarks as WWII approached. This enabled to keep the brand alive during the conflict. Postwar my father joined the firm and took over leadership in 1959 after the death of my grandfather. I grew up in the company and joined full-time in 1973, and continued until the agreement with Schwan in 1982 to return the distribution rights to them. I joined their start-up endeavor in Georgia as the only non-sales person to carryover from Swan. After a year in Georgia, I decided to leave the industry and pursue a different career. Although that was thirty odd years ago, some of my most vivid recollections are purely olfactory… the wonderful smell of cedar that permeated the pencil plants that I visited. I viewed with interest your collection of Schwan pencils but believ I may have some that you don’t. If the pictures on the site are inclusive of your Schan collection, I am sure that over Thanksgiving I can locate a few that you do not have. Let me know.

        October 30, 2013 at 8:19 am

  4. Steve Hosselet

    Here’s a trivia tidbit regarding the Alien Properties Act under which Swan Pencil Co. USA produced with Schwan trademarks during WWII:
    5777 All rights of Schwan·Bleistift Fabrik, A. G. In a contract with Stationery Export
    and Import .corporation·and Ferdinand Hosselet, and in a contract with Swan
    Pencil Co., Inc., each relating to trade.marks ______(SEICO was predecessor to Swan USA

    October 31, 2013 at 2:45 pm

    • A. Gean

      I just bought a bag of old pencils at an estate sale. It included 26 carb-Othello pencils in various colors and a variety of Eagle Verithin pencils. Thank you for your comments above. I was thrilled to find out a little more about the “treasure” I acquired today.

      May 8, 2014 at 10:51 am

    • Nalini Raj

      Hi Steve,
      I used the No 2 Othello 2988 pencil (pictured above ..the green pencil) as a child in Saudi Arabia in the 1970’s. My Dad got the pencils from the American company where he worked. (Aramco) I have been hunting for the pencils and have had no luck. Would you know where I could possibly get some? For nostalgic sake? Thanks for your time.

      October 4, 2018 at 8:58 am

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