Pencilography – All About The Pencil

National Pencil Day will happen on March 30th, and to celebrate this we’ve put together some interesting facts and history about the humble pencil. Everyone has used a pencil at some point in their lives, whether it is as a small child colouring in or an adult designing or drawing.

The reason why National Pencil Day occurs on March 30th is because in 1858, Hymen Lipman received the patent for an eraser-tipped pencil. Pencils themselves though, have been around for a lot longer than that and the name itself is said to come from numerous meanings.

One such theory is that it comes from the Latin pencillus which means ‘little tail’. Yet another theory is that the name comes from the French pincel meaning ‘little paintbrush’, but today they are simply known as pencils. Early pencils were originally made out of lead until the discovery of graphite.

Graphite Pencils

Pencils Have a Long History That Goes Back Centuries!

Pencils Have a Long History That Goes Back Centuries!

Graphite pencils began to be created in the mid 1500s after the discovery of a large deposit of graphite in Borrowdale, England. The graphite could be shaped into sticks that provided a dark marks, but they were too soft to simply be used on their own and required an encasement. Originally they were wrapped in string, allowing people to write without accidentally breaking the pencil.

Despite the fact that pencils have been made with graphite and not lead for centuries now, people will still call the inside of a pencil ‘lead’. Have no fear though! There is no actual lead in pencils so there is minimal risk to health.

Unfortunately, this discovery of a deposit of graphite remains the only deposit ever found in the world, and so in the 1600s attempts to make graphite sticks out of powdered graphite began in Nuremberg, Germany. As well, graphite was eventually encased in wooden sticks.

America And The Pencil

Until 1812, pencils were exclusively made in Europe due to the fact that only England had a graphite deposit and Germany created the graphite substitute pencils.  William Munroe developed the very first American wood pencils in this year, and Henry David Thoreau discovered how to make pencils out of inferior graphite by binding it with clay.

Ebenezer Wood created the very first hexagon and octagon shaped wooden casings that we see and love today. An interesting fact about pencils is that they can be used in zero gravity, upside down or even in water, making them simple yet incredibly useful no matter where you are!

Varieties of Pencils

Today there are many kinds of pencils that you can choose from, simple graphite pencils for offices or homes or mechanical pencils for those who need a consistent quality from their pencils. The advantages of pencils are that they can be erased with minimal effort, making them much admired across the world.

The current rise of adult colouring books has meant that coloured pencils are more in demand than ever, showing that the humble pencil will remain a kind amongst its peers for quite a while!

Why not take a look at the large range of pencils that are available on OPInfo? You may find your perfect accompaniment and remember to use a pencil in honour of their history on March 30th!

Coloured Pencils Are Popular Now

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Sarah Jubb

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