The simple pencil has been around for nearly 600 years. Numerous writers and students still prefer it as one of their primary writing products. It is hassle-free, easy to use, and suitable for all purposes and age groups.
The Origin of Pencils
The word pencil comes from the Latin penicillus, which means ‘not so sensibly’ or ‘small tail.’ Greek poet, Philip of Thessaloniki, described leaden writing implements in the first century B.C. However, the modern Pencil, illustrated by Swiss naturalist Conrad Gesner in 1565, dates only from that year.
Following the discovery of a significant graphite resource in Borrowdale, England, in 1564, graphite became widely used. The mineral was valued for creating a darker impression than lead. However, it was so malleable and fragile that it demanded a holder. Graphite sticks were initially wrapped in string. After the discovery of graphite in England in the 16th century, pencils became a part of contemporary life. Later, in 1560, a couple in Italy came up with the idea of encasing graphite cores in wooden sticks and the idea caught on. Today, billions are manufactured in various forms, sizes, and hardnesses.
The Evolution of Pencils
As we know it today, the pencils have sailed through multiple historical epochs to reach their present condition. Not much is known about the person who first invented this idea. However, historical records associate the invention of the “pencil” like a stylus to Ancient Romans who used this tool to write on hard surfaces. Only after the discovery of Graphite in the 16th century did human civilization create its first modern pencil. These round wooden hollow sticks would encase the Graphite, allowing users a firm grip while writing.
Over the next few years, these wooden pencils became a staple in every household, undergoing structural and compositional changes. However, a significant leap in the pencil-manufacturing industry occurred with the invention of polymer pencils. These pencils had a core of Graphite mixed with a clay binder, leaving lighter marks and making them easy to erase. Ecologically, these pencils proved to be much superior to basic wooden pencils. They last longer and can be reused for an extended period. This is economical for the user and more environmentally-friendly as it saves a few more trees that would have gone into making wooden pencils.
Literary Facts About Pencils
Artistic Inspiration with Pencils
A famous literary myth states that pencils can often help writers get artistic inspiration. Hence renowned writers like Ernest Hemingway and John Steinback have used pencils to draft their serious works. According to Hemingway, writing with pencils has a significant advantage as it allows the writer to “get three different sights at it to see if the reader is getting what you want him to.”
Writers and Pencils
John Steinbeck is said to have used up to 60 pencils per day when writing his works. Henry David Thoreau utilized pencils to compose Walden, his famous work, because his father ran a pencil-making firm outside Boston, where Henry supposedly manufactured his pencils. Ray Bradbury was a big fan of Faber-Castell pencils. His love for this brand prompted him to name the protagonist in his well-known novel Fahrenheit 451 after them.
Historical Facts About Pencils
Pencils Assisted POWs Throughout World War II
Pencils have never traditionally contained lead. So, why do we call a pencil’s core “lead”? After identifying graphite, it was believed to be a type of lead. Pencils now contain an amalgam of clay and graphite, which was initially developed by Conté in 1795.
The China Connection and the Yellow Pencil
The highest quality graphite came straight from China in the early days of pencil manufacturing. When American producers sought to show that their pencils were created with Chinese graphite, they dyed them yellow to depict a symbol of monarchy often associated with China.
What makes the Pencil so Unique?
Pencils can be used Anywhere.
Although pencils for students are constructed of simple materials, they are incredibly versatile. They may be utilized in space, underwater, and even backward. This is because graphite is a solid that does not dissolve in water or float away in zero gravity. So, if you ever go Scuba diving and want to write a novel, or if you’re an astronaut who wants to take notes, a pencil is the ideal writing equipment.
Record Breaking Pencil-Facts
- Average pencils for students can write 45,000 words.
- One Tree Makes a Hill of Pencils
- The longest pencil measures 1091.99 m (3582 ft and 7.73 in) and was achieved by BIC (France) in Samer, France, on October 10th, 2017.
- Emilio Arenas, a man from Uruguay, has the world’s most extensive collection of lead pencils, with 16,260 pencils from all over the world in his collection.
Even though the human race is well into the age of technology and has become reliant on everything linked to the Internet, these conventional writing products like Spartex Polymer Pencils are the best pencil for students, and hence irreplaceable. It does not require recharging or power sources, only the periodic sharpening to keep it going. While some individuals prefer to write up their thoughts on their phones or send messages via text, the trusty Pencil continues its legacy.
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