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A. Hammer Pencil Factory (Soviet Union)

Last modified: 2021-08-26 by rob raeside
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Flag used by A. Hammer Pencil Factory image located by Viktor Lomantsov, 10 January 2018
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Description of the flag

A Soviet advertising poster (1928) for American pencils "A. Hammer" shows a mysterious red flag with logo.
Big image -
Viktor Lomantsov, 10 January 2018

These pencils were the products of Armand Hammer (1898-1990), a prominent American businessman, philanthropist and communist sympathizer.
Miles Li, 10 January 2018

The poster is a publicity image for the pencil brand "A. Hammer". It has been claimed that it was done by Владимир Августович Стенберги (English: Vladimir Avgustovich Stenberg) and Георгий Августович Стенберги (English: Georgiy Avgustovich), known as the Братья Стенберг (English: Stenberg brothers) in a Constructivism technique.

The flag in question is a swallow-tailed red background, featuring a square emblem in the canton, made up of a (supposedly) naval-like emblem design displaying a crossed hammer and anchor pointing upwards in white over light blue background, and coming out of the top left corner, are eight red rays over a white background. In the middle, in black background, the statue of liberty (featured from the waist up). The pencil is featured on the New York skyline with an arriving ship at night.

The pencil featured in the poster reads (from top to bottom, written vertically): naval-like emblem design displaying a crossed hammer and anchor pointing upwards in black - A. HAMMER "DIAMOND" (diamond being a type of pencil manufactured by the company).

Below, the following inscription in three rows, from top to bottom (in Cyrillic script) and in capitals:
АМЕИРКАНСКАЯ ПРОМЫШЛЕННАЯ КОНЦЕССИЯ А.ГАММЕР (English: American Industrial Concession A. Hammer) КАРАНДАШИ ПЕРЬЯ (English: Pencil's feathers) МОСКВА ♦ НЬЮИОРК (English: Moscow ♦ New York)

"Soviet advertising pencils 1920's. A. Hammer" Pencil factory "A. Hammer" began work in Moscow in April 1926, as a private American industrial concession. On February 19, 1930, the factory was taken over by the state and was renamed (the) "Карандаш фабрики им. Сакко и Ванцетти" (English: "Sacco and Vanzetti Pencil Factory" (after. Sacco and Vanzetti, after the Italian immigrant workers whose execution in the U.S. in 1927 for crimes they allegedly did not commit made them martyrs to the socialist cause). Thus, the pencil (company and) brand A. Hammer lasted a little less than four years.

A. Hammer's (named after its founder, Armand Hammer) factory was the only private pencil factory for the whole of the USSR's existence and was a strong competitor to the state pencil factories. Consumers willingly bought pencils and other stationery products of the A. Hammer factory, although it was much more expensive than similar ones at state factories.

A. Hammer's products were of high quality, colorfully framed and competently promoted to the market. It can be assumed that it was the competition between the private pencil factory A. Hammer and the state pencil factories that caused a large number of pencil advertisements in the USSR in the late 1920s. In the Soviet Union, neither before nor after, this has taken place. And, of course, the most vivid and numerous was the advertisement of A. Hammer.

The image Victor mentions is part of a two series posters, as part of the company's:

1. Outdoor advertising. In 1927 - 1928, several color posters with images of the top products of the factory were published. Probably, they were distributed to wholesale customers for registration of retail outlets. Also issued postcards with images of these posters."

The image of the poster is found here: . And its caption reads: Плакат А. Гаммер. Diamond. Карандаши. Перья, год издания - 1927, размер 71,5x51 см. (English: Poster "A. Hammer. Diamond. Pencils. Feathers ", the year of publication - 1927, the size of 71.5x51 cm.

"I went into a stationery store to buy a pencil. The salesman showed me an ordinary lead-pencil that would cost two or three cents in America, and to my astonishment said the price was fifty kopeks (26 cents)... I decided that here was my opportunity. ~ Armand Hammer"

Hammer, who completely lacked pencil-making know-how, recruited disgruntled German Faber pencil masters and Birmingham engineers and within six months his Moscow pencil factory was in business using first American cedar and then Siberian redwood. Demand soared and Nikita Khrushchev told Hammer much later that he first learnt how to write using a Hammer pencil. But in 1930 the economic climate changed and Armand Hammer sold the factory to the Soviets (the concession came to an end, the company was nationalized and began operations as a State company on March 15, 1930). On the basis of the concession agreement (managed by the "Главный концессионный комитет при Совете Народных Комиссаров СССР, ГКК; Главконцесск; Главконцеском; Главконцесском" (English: The Main Concession Committee at the Council of Peoples' Commissars of the USSR, GKK; Glavkonsk, Glavkoncesskom) which was the Soviet government authority in charge of foreign concessions in the USSR, between 1923 and 1937) concluded between the Government of the USSR and the "Правлением американской концессии" (English: Board of the American concession) in the person of A. Hammer and the approval of the Совет народных комиссаров, Совнарком, СНК (English: Council of People's Commissars, Sovnarkom, SNK) on September 22, 1925 by the Протокол № 119, п.14 (English: Protocol No. 119, paragraph 14), in 1926 a concessionary factory of office supplies was opened in Moscow.

From the time of its foundation (1930) to 1935, the factory was subordinated to the merger of "Мосхим" (Мосхимтресту) (English: "Moskhim" (Moshimtrest)), from 1935 to 1957, then it was subordinated to the "Тресту школьно-письменных принадлежностей Министерства местной промышленности" (English: The trust of school and writing supplies of the Ministry of Local Industry), from 1957 to 1965, then subordinated to the "Управлению мебельной промышленности Мосгорсовнархоза" (English: Management of the furniture industry of the Moscow City Executive Committee), from 1965 to March 25, 1991 it became Объединению Союзоргтехника (с 1986 г. МНПО Оргтехника) Министерства приборостроения, средств автоматизации и систем управления СССР, с 25 марта 1991 г. по 3 августа 1993 г. Министерству электротехнической промышленности и приборостроения СССР, с 03 августа 1993 г. по 30 июня 1994 г. Комитету РФ по машиностроению (English: "Union "Soyuzorgtekhnika" (since 1986 - MNPO "Office equipment") of the Ministry of Instrumentation, Automation and Control Systems of the USSR, from March 25, 1991 to August 3, 1993 - to the Ministry of Electrical Engineering and Instrumentation of the USSR, since August 03, 1993 June 30, 1994 - the RF Committee for Machine Building. In 1994, "было зарегистрировано Акционерное общество открытого типа Московский завод пишущих принадлежностей имени Сакко и Ванцетти" (English: Open Joint Stock Company "Moscow Sacco and Vanzetti Writing Accessories Factory" was registered, which was the assignee of the state enterprise "Moscow Sacco and Vanzetti Writing Accessories Factory". In 2000, "АООТ МЗПП им. Сакко и Ванцетти" (English: AOOT "MZPP Sacco and Vanzetti "was transformed in accordance with the current legislation in the" Sacco and Vincetti "writing accessories factory. In 1996, foreign partners (Bulgaria and Switzerland) left. In 204 it ceased operations and in 2005, due to the 1990s and early 2000 economic crisis, the factory began to dismantle and in 2007 it was formally closed. During the reorganization and bankruptcy of the plant, there were in fact 2-3 legal entities with the common word combination "Sacco and Vanzetti", which belonged to a part of the plant's property. This explains the duplication of government. The last legal entity was owned by the plant "Sacco and Vanzetti", who were its shareholders are developers.

Its formal name when it was nationalized in 1930 was "Московский завод пишущих принадлежностей имени Сакко и Ванцетти" (English: The Moscow Sacco and Vanzetti Writing Accessories Factory). It was also known as "Карандашная фабрика, ОАО Сакко и Ванцетти, ОАО Завод пишущих принадлежностей им. Сакко и Ванцетти, АООТ Московский завод пишущих принадлежностей им. Сакко и Ванцетти" (English: "Pencil Factory", "Sacco and Vanzetti" OJSC (Open Joint Stock Company), "Plant of Writing Accessories". Sacco and Vanzetti ", AOOT" Moscow Plant of Writing Accessories. Sacco and Vanzetti"). The company also manufactured color pencils, chalks, etc."

Hence, this was one of many foreign companies established in the country in the early years of the USSR and one could say that this flag is most likely the company's intended flag (no evidence is found that there was a real flag for it, only images in posters so far).

Esteban Rivera, 10 January 2018