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HB graphite pencils

A pencil is a writing implement or art medium constructed of a narrow, solid pigment core inside a protective casing. The case prevents the core from breaking or staining the user’s hand.

Pencils create marks via physical abrasion, leaving behind a trail of solid core material that adheres to a sheet of paper or other surface. They are noticeably distinct from pens, which dispense liquid or gel ink that absorb into paper.

Most pencil cores are made of graphite mixed with a clay binder, leaving grey or black marks that can be easily erased. Graphite pencils are used for both writing and drawing, and the result is durable: although writing can easily be removed with an eraser, it is resistant to moisture, most chemicals, ultraviolet radiation and natural aging.

Other types of pencil core are less widely used. Charcoal pencils are mainly used by artists for drawing and sketching. Colored pencils are sometimes used by teachers or editors to correct submitted texts but are more usually regarded as art supplies, especially those with waxy core binders that tend to smear on paper instead of erasing. Grease pencils have a softer crayon-like waxy core that can leave marks on smooth surfaces such as glass or porcelain.

The most common type of pencil casing is a thin wooden cylinder permanently bonded around the core. Similar permanent casings may be constructed of other materials such as plastic or paper. In order to use the pencil, the casing must be carved or peeled off to expose the working end of the core as a sharp point. Mechanical pencils have more elaborate casings that support mobile pieces of pigment core, which can be extended or retracted through the casing tip as needed.

Contents

History

Old Soviet colour pencils with box (circa 1959)

The archetypal pencil may have been the stylus, which was a thin metal stick, often made from lead and used for scratching in papyrus, a form of early paper. They were used extensively by the ancient Egyptians and Romans. The word pencil comes from the Latin word pencillus which means "little tail".

Discovery of graphite deposit

Some time before 1565 (some sources say as early as 1500), an enormous deposit of graphite was discovered on the approach to Grey Knotts from the hamlet of Seathwaite in Borrowdale parish, Cumbria, England.[1][2][3] The locals found that it was very useful for marking sheep. This particular deposit of graphite was extremely pure and solid, and it could easily be sawn into sticks. This remains the only large scale deposit of graphite ever found in this solid form.[4] Chemistry was in its infancy and the substance was thought to be a form of lead. Consequently, it was called plumbago (Latin for "lead ore").[5][6] The black core of pencils is still referred to as lead, even though it never contained the element lead. In German, the word for pencil still is Bleistift, literally lead stick.

The value of graphite was soon realized to be enormous, mainly because it could be used to line the moulds for cannonballs, and the mines were taken over by the Crown and guarded. When sufficient stocks of graphite had been accumulated, the mines were flooded to prevent theft until more was required. Graphite had to be smuggled out for use in pencils. Because graphite is soft, it requires some form of case. Graphite sticks were at first wrapped in string or in sheepskin for stability. The news of the usefulness of these early pencils spread far and wide, attracting the attention of artists all over the known world.

Although deposits of graphite had been found in other parts of the world, they were not of the same purity and quality as the Borrowdale find, and had to be crushed to remove the impurities, leaving only graphite powder.[citation needed] England continued to enjoy a monopoly on the production of pencils until a method of reconstituting the graphite powder was found. The distinctively square English pencils continued to be made with sticks cut from natural graphite into the 1860s. The town of Keswick, near the original findings of block graphite, has a pencil museum.[7]

The first attempt to manufacture graphite sticks from powdered graphite was in Nuremberg, Germany, in 1662. It used a mixture of graphite, sulphur, and antimony.

Residual graphite from a pencil stick is not poisonous, and graphite is harmless if consumed.[8]

No. 2 Pencils

The number 2 pencil got its title from the shade of darkness it has (second most dark) from pencil #1-5. This pencils shape is typically hexagon and is always wood cased.They can write under water, upside down and in space. They can also write up to 45000 words[citation needed].

Wood holders added

The Italians first thought of wooden holders. An Italian couple, in particular, named Simonio and Lyndiana Bernacotti, were believed to be the ones to create the first blueprints for the modern carpentry pencil for the purpose of marking their carpentry pieces; however, their version was instead a flat, oval, more compact type of pencil. They did this at first by hollowing out a stick of juniper wood. Shortly thereafter, a superior technique was discovered: two wooden halves were carved, a graphite stick inserted, and the two halves then glued together—essentially the same method in use to this day.[citation needed][9]

English and German pencils were not available to the French during the Napoleonic Wars; France, under naval blockade imposed by Great Britain, was unable to import the pure graphite sticks from the British Grey Knotts mines – the only known source in the world for solid graphite. France was also unable to import the inferior German graphite pencil substitute. It took the efforts of an officer in Napoleon's army to change this. In 1795, Nicholas Jacques Conté discovered a method of mixing powdered graphite with clay and forming the mixture into rods that were then fired in a kiln. By varying the ratio of graphite to clay, the hardness of the graphite rod could also be varied. This method of manufacture, which had been earlier discovered by the Austrian Joseph Hardtmuth of Koh-I-Noor in 1790, remains in use.[citation needed]

In England, pencils continued to be made from whole sawn graphite. Henry Bessemer's first successful invention (1838) was a method of compressing graphite powder into solid graphite thus allowing the waste from sawing to be reused.[10]

Pencil manufacturing. The top sequence shows the old method that required pieces of graphite to be cut to size; the lower sequence is the new, current method using rods of graphite and clay

American colonists imported pencils from Europe until after the American Revolution. Benjamin Franklin advertised pencils for sale in his Pennsylvania Gazette in 1729, and George Washington used a three-inch pencil when he surveyed the Ohio Territory in 1762.[citation needed] It is said that William Munroe, a cabinetmaker in Concord, Massachusetts, made the first American wood pencils in 1812. This was not the only pencil-making occurring in Concord. According to Henry Petroski, transcendentalist philosopher Henry David Thoreau discovered how to make a good pencil out of inferior graphite using clay as the binder; this invention was prompted by his father's pencil factory in Concord, which employed graphite found in New Hampshire in 1821 by Charles Dunbar.

Munroe's method of making pencils was painstakingly slow, and in the neighbouring town of Acton, a pencil mill owner named Ebenezer Wood set out to automate the process at his own pencil mill located at Nashoba Brook along the old Davis Road. He used the first circular saw in pencil production. He constructed the first of the hexagon- and octagon-shaped wooden casings that we have today. Ebenezer did not patent his invention and shared his techniques with whomever asked. One of those was Eberhard Faber of New York, who became the leader in pencil production.[11]

Joseph Dixon, an inventor and entrepreneur involved with the Tantiusques granite mine in Sturbridge, Massachusetts, developed a means to mass produce pencils. By 1870, The Joseph Dixon Crucible Company was the world’s largest dealer and consumer of graphite and later became the contemporary Dixon Ticonderoga pencil and art supplies company.[12][13]

By the end of the 19th century over 240,000 pencils were used each day in the United States alone. The favoured timber for pencils was Red Cedar as it was aromatic and did not splinter when sharpened. In the early 1900s supplies of Red Cedar were dwindling so that pencil manufacturers were forced to recycle the wood from cedar fences and barns to maintain supply. Britain went as far as declaring the use of pencil sharpeners illegal to discourage unnecessary sharpening.[citation needed] It was soon discovered that Incense cedar, when dyed and perfumed to resemble Red Cedar, was a suitable alternative and most pencils today are made from this timber which is grown in managed forests. Over 14 billion pencils are manufactured worldwide annually.[14]

Eraser attached

Drawing of pencil with an attached eraser from its patent application

On 30 March 1858, Hymen Lipman received the first patent for attaching an eraser to the end of a pencil.[15] In 1862 Lipman sold his patent to Joseph Reckendorfer for $100,000, who went to sue the pencil manufacturer Faber-Castell for infringement.[16] In 1875, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled against Reckendorfer declaring the patent invalid.[17]

The metal band used to mate the eraser with pencil is called a ferrule.

Manufacture

Modern pencils are made industrially by mixing finely ground graphite and clay powders, adding water, forming long spaghetti-like strings, and firing them in a kiln. The resulting strings are dipped in oil or molten wax, which seeps into the tiny holes of the material, resulting in smoother writing. A juniper or incense-cedar plank with several long parallel grooves is cut to fashion a “slat,” and the graphite/clay strings are inserted into the grooves. Another grooved plank is glued on top, and the whole assembly is then cut into individual pencils, which are then varnished or painted. Afterwards people can then add personal things like pencil grips and eraser toppers. Eraser toppers are extra erasers that can be removed after being used.

Grading and classification

HB graphite pencils. One is labelled #2 and the other #2 1/2
A grading chart ranging from 9B to 9H

Many pencils across the world, and almost all in Europe, are graded on the European system using a continuum from “H” (for hardness) to “B” (for blackness), as well as “F” (for fine point). The standard writing pencil is graded HB. According to Petroski, this system might have been developed in the early 1900s by Brookman, an English pencil maker. It used “B” for black and “H” for hard; a pencil's grade was described by a sequence or successive Hs or Bs such as BB and BBB for successively softer leads, and HH and HHH for successively harder ones.[18]

As of 2009, a set of pencils ranging from a very hard, light-marking pencil to a very soft, black-marking pencil usually ranges from hardest to softest as follows:

9H 8H 7H 6H 5H 4H 3H 2H H F HB B 2B 3B 4B 5B 6B 7B 8B 9B
Hardest Medium Softest

Koh-i-noor offers twenty grades from 10H to 8B for its 1500 series;[19] Derwent produces twenty grades from 9H to 9B for its Graphic pencils[20] and Staedtler produces nineteen from 9H to 8B for its Mars Lumograph pencils.[21]

The main market for such wide range of grades are artists who are interested in creating a full range of tones from light grey to black. Engineers prefer harder pencils which allow for a greater control in the shape of the lead. This is reflected in the way pencils are packaged and marketed. For example, for its Graphic pencils Derwent offers three packages of 12 pencils each: Technical (with hard grades from 9H to B), Sketching (with soft grades H to 9B), and Designer (with medium grades 4H to 6B).[citation needed]

Pencils graded using this system are used to measure the hardness and resistance of varnishes and paints. The resistance of a coating (also known as its pencil hardness) is determined as the grade of the hardest pencil that does not mark the coating when pressed firmly against it at a 45 degree angle.[22][23]

Another common method uses numbers to designate the grade of a pencil. It was originally created by Conté and adopted in the United States by John Thoreau, father of Henry Thoreau, in the 19th century.[24] The following table shows approximate equivalences between the different systems:[25]

Tone U.S. World
#1 B
#2 HB
#2½ * F
#3 H
#4 2H

* Also seen as 2-4/8, 2.5, 2-5/10

Although Conté/Thoreau's system is widely accepted, not all manufacturers follow it; for example, Faber-Castell uses a different equivalence table in its Grip 2001 pencils: 1 = 2B, 2 = B, 2½ = HB, 3 = H, 4 = 2H.

The various graphite pencil grades are achieved by altering the proportion of graphite to clay: the more clay the harder the pencil.[26][27][28] Two pencils of the same grade but different manufacturers will not necessarily make a mark of identical tone nor have the same hardness.[29]

External color and shape of pencils

Yellow pencil

The majority of pencils made in the United States are painted yellow.[30] According to Henry Petroski,[31] this tradition began in 1890 when the L. & C. Hardtmuth Company of Austria-Hungary introduced their Koh-I-Noor brand, named after the famous diamond. It was intended to be the world's best and most expensive pencil, and at a time when most pencils were either painted in dark colours or not at all, the Koh-I-Noor was yellow. As well as simply being distinctive, the colour may have been inspired by the Austro-Hungarian flag; it was also suggestive of the Orient, at a time when the best-quality graphite came from Siberia. Other companies then copied the yellow colour so that their pencils would be associated with this high-quality brand, and chose brand names with explicit Oriental references, such as Mikado (renamed Mirado)[32][33] and Mongol.[34][35]

Not all countries use yellow pencils, however; German and Brazilian pencils, for example, are often green, based on the trademark colours of Faber-Castell, a major German stationery company. In southern European countries pencils tend to be dark red or black with yellow lines while in Australia they are red with black bands at one end. In India the most common pencil colour scheme was dark red with black lines, and pencils with a large number of colour schemes are produced by various companies.

Pencils are commonly round, hexagonal or sometimes triangular in section. Carpenters' pencils (see below) are typically oval or rectangular.

Notable pencil users

  • Thomas Edison had his pencils specially made by Eagle Pencil. Each pencil was three inches long, was thicker than standard pencils and had softer graphite than was normally available.[36]
  • Vladimir Nabokov rewrote everything he had ever published, usually several times, by pencil.[36]
  • John Steinbeck was an obsessive pencil user and is said to have used as many as 60 a day. His novel East of Eden took more than 300 pencils to write.[36]
  • Vincent van Gogh only used Faber pencils as they were "superior to Carpenters pencils, a capital black and most agreeable".[36][37]

Types

According to their marking material

Coloured pencils
Graphite pencils
These are the most common types of pencils. They are made of a mixture of clay and graphite and their darkness varies from light grey to black. Their composition allows for the smoothest strokes.
Charcoal pencils
They are made of charcoal and provide fuller blacks than graphite pencils, but tend to smudge easily and are more abrasive than graphite. Sepia-toned and white pencils are also available for duotone techniques.
Carbon pencils
They generally are made of a mixture of clay and lamp black, but are sometimes blended with charcoal or graphite depending on the darkness and manufacturer. They produce a fuller black than graphite pencils, but are smoother than charcoal.
Coloured pencils
These have wax-like cores with pigment and other fillers. Multiple colours are often blended together. The versatility of a set of crayon pencils can be determined by the number of unique colours it contains.[38]
Grease pencils
They write on virtually any surface (including glass, plastic, metal and photographs). The most commonly found grease pencils are encased in paper (Berol and Sanford Peel-off), but they can also be encased in wood (Staedtler Omnichrom).[38]
Watercolour pencils
These are designed for use with watercolour techniques. The pencils can be used by themselves for sharp, bold lines. Strokes made by the pencil can also be saturated with water and spread with brushes.[38]

According to their use

Two "woodless" graphite pencils, two charcoal pencils, and two grease pencils
Carpenter's pencils
These are pencils that have two main properties: their shape prevents them from rolling, and their graphite is strong.[39] The oldest surviving pencil is a German carpenter's pencil dating from the 17th Century and now in the Faber-Castell collection.[40][41]
Copying pencils
These are graphite pencils with an added dye that creates an indelible mark. They were invented in the late 1800s for press copying and as a practical substitute for fountain pens. Their markings are often visually indistinguishable from those of standard graphite pencils, but when moistened their markings dissolve into a coloured ink, which is then pressed into another piece of paper.[42][43][44] They were used until the early 1900s when ball pens slowly replaced them.
Erasable colour pencils
Unlike wax-based coloured pencils, these can be easily erased. Their main use is in sketching, where the objective is to create an outline using the same colour that other media (such as wax pencils, or watercolour paints) would fill[45] or when the objective is to scan the colour sketch.[46] Some animators prefer col-erase to graphite pencils because they don't smudge as easily, and the different colours allow for better separation of objects in the sketch.[47] Copy-editors find them useful too, as their markings stand out more than graphite but can be erased.[48]
Non-reproducing
or non-photo blue pencils make marks that are not reproduced by photocopiers[49] (Sanford's Copy-not or Staedtler's Mars Non-photo) or by whiteprint copiers (Staedtler's Mars Non-Print).
Stenographer's pencil
Also known as a steno pencil. These pencils are expected to be very reliable, and their lead is break proof. Nevertheless sometimes steno pencils are sharpened at both ends to enhance reliability. They are round to avoid pressure pain during long texts.[50]
Golf pencil
Golf pencils are usually short (a common length is 9 cm) and very cheap. They are also known as library pencils, as many libraries offer them as disposable, unspillable writing instruments.

According to their shape

  • Triangular (more accurately a Reuleaux triangle)
  • Hexagonal
  • Round
  • Bendable (flexible plastic)

According to their size

Typical
Typically-sized pencil under a ruler.
A standard, hexagonal, "#2 pencil" is cut to a hexagonal height of 1/4-inch (6 mm), but the outer diameter is slightly larger (about 9/32-inch (7 mm)).[51]
Biggest
On 3 September 2007, Ashrita Furman unveiled his giant US$20,000 pencil – 76 feet (23 m) long, 18,000 pounds (8,200 kg) (with over 4,500 pounds (2,000 kg) for the graphite center) – after three weeks of creation in August 2007 as a birthday gift for teacher Sri Chinmoy. It is longer than the 65-foot (20 m) pencil outside the Malaysia HQ of stationers Faber-Castell.[52][53][54]

According to their manufacture

Mechanical pencils
Pencil lead for mechanical pencils
Flexible pencils

There are also pencils which use mechanical methods to push lead through a hole at the end and are either propelling or clutch type. The erasers (sometimes replaced by a sharpener in larger lead sizes) are also removable (and thus replaceable), and usually cover a place to store replacement leads. Mechanical pencils are popular for their longevity and the fact that they may never need sharpening. Lead types are based on grade and size; with standard sizes being 2.00 mm, 1.40 mm, 1.00 mm, 0.70 mm, 0.50 mm, 0.35 mm, 0.25 mm, 0.18 mm, and 0.13 mm (ISO 9175-1)—the 0.9 mm size is available, but is not considered a standard ISO size.

Pop a Point Pencils

Also known as Bensia Pencils is a type of pencil where many sharp points are housed in the body of the pencil in cartridge style plastic holders, removing a blunt point by pulling it from the writing end of the body and re-inserting it to the top of the body causes the next point to appear from the writing end of the pencil body.[citation needed]

Plastic pencils

Invented by Arthur D. Little for Empire Pencil Company in the early 1970s; commercialized by Empire as the "EPCON" Pencil. These pencils were co-extruded, extruding a plasticized graphite mix within a wood-composite core.[55]

Stackable pencils

Other types

  • The Quadrachromic Pencil is a slightly enlarged pencil with four colours equally partitioned on the tip. The use of each colour while drawing is accomplished by rotating the pencil between the fingers.
  • Penny pencil

Notes

  1. ^ Martin and Jean Norgate, Geography Department, Portsmouth University (2008). "Old Cumbria Gazetteer, black lead mine, Seathwaite". http://www.geog.port.ac.uk/webmap/thelakes/html/lgaz/lk00976.htm. Retrieved 2008-05-19. 
  2. ^ Alfred Wainwright (2005). A Pictorial Guide to the Lakeland Fells, Western Fells. ISBN 0-7112-2460-9. 
  3. ^ "Graphite from the Plumbago Mine, Borrowdale, England". Department of Physics at Michigan Technological University. http://www.phy.mtu.edu/~jaszczak/borrowdale.html. Retrieved 2008-03-27. 
  4. ^ "Lakeland's Mining Heritage". www.cumbria-industries.org.uk. http://www.cumbria-industries.org.uk/wad.htm. Retrieved 2008-03-27. 
  5. ^ "Definition of Plumbago". Answers.com. http://www.answers.com/topic/plumbago. Retrieved 2007-04-21. 
  6. ^ "Definition of Plumbago". Thefreedictionary.com. http://www.thefreedictionary.com/plumbago. Retrieved 2007-04-21. 
  7. ^ "Keswick Pencil Museum". Pencilmuseum.co.uk. http://www.pencilmuseum.co.uk/. Retrieved 2009-07-23. 
  8. ^ "Graphite - Identification, toxicity, use, water pollution potential, ecological toxicity, and regulatory information". Pesticideinfo.org. http://www.pesticideinfo.org/Detail_Chemical.jsp?Rec_Id=PC33124. Retrieved 2009-07-23. 
  9. ^ Historyofscience.com
  10. ^ Bessemer, Henry. "Sir Henry Bessemer, F.R.S: An Autobiography. Chapter 3."
  11. ^ "Acton Conservation Lands, Early American Pencils". Actontrails.org. http://www.actontrails.org/EAPencils.htm. Retrieved 2009-07-23. 
  12. ^ "Dixon Ticonderoga Company". Dixonusa.com. http://www.dixonusa.com/index.cfm/fuseaction=history.dixon. Retrieved 2009-07-23. 
  13. ^ "Tantiusques Graphite Mine". Thetrustees.org. http://www.thetrustees.org/pages/368_tantiusques.cfm. Retrieved 2009-07-23. 
  14. ^ "The Point Of It All". Discovery Channel Magazine. Volume 1, Issue 5, 2008
  15. ^ "US Patent 19783 Combination of Lead-Pencil and Eraser by L. Lipman". Patft.uspto.gov. http://patft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?patentnumber=19783. Retrieved 2009-07-23. 
  16. ^ Petroski, Henry (1990). The Pencil: A History of Design and Circumstance. New York: Alfred A. Knopf. pp. 171. ISBN 0-394-57422-2. 
  17. ^ "Reckendorfer v. Faber 92 U.S. 347 (1875)". Supreme.justia.com. http://supreme.justia.com/us/92/347/case.html. Retrieved 2009-07-23. 
  18. ^ Petroski, 1990, p. 157
  19. ^ Koh-i-noor Catalog: Graphite Pencis, koh-i-noor.cz
  20. ^ "Derwent Graphic". Pencils.co.uk. http://www.pencils.co.uk/products/derwent.aspx?sid=3&p=1. Retrieved 2009-07-23. 
  21. ^ Staedtler.com, Staedtler Mars Lumograph Pencils. Retrieved 21 August 2007.
  22. ^ This testing method is approved by the ISO as standard ISO 15184:1998 Paints and varnishes -- Determination of film hardness by pencil test ISO.org. See pra-world.com for a description of the test. Unfortunately the hardness of pencils is not standardized. For this reason the standard specifies various brands of pencils that are to be used in this test.
  23. ^ Simmons, Mac (April 2000). "The Pencil Hardness Test". Woodwork: 76. http://www.pencilpages.com/articles/simmons.htm. Retrieved 13 September 2007. 
  24. ^ Petroski claims that Conté used integer numbers that started at 1, with higher numbers indicating softer leads, while Thoreau used higher numbers to designate harder leads (Petroski, 1990, page 157). It is believed that Thoreau developed independently his method of mixing clay and graphite, and his use of numbers to designate grades is evidence that he was at least aware of Conté methods and tried to reverse engineer them. Thoreau offered pencils graduated from 1 to 4 in the middle 1800s (Petroski, 1990, p. 119), see also "Thoreau's Pencils". John H. Lienhard. The Engines of Our Ingenuity. NPR. KUHF-FM Houston. 1989. No. 339. Transcript. uh.edu
  25. ^ Petroski, 1990, p. 230
  26. ^ "Staedtler Pencil, video". http://www.staedtler.com/upload/graphite_video_eng_16461.mpg. Retrieved 2009-07-23.  Staedtler.com
  27. ^ Petroski, 1990
  28. ^ "Derwent Manufacturing Process". Pencils.co.uk. http://www.pencils.co.uk/heritage.aspx?id=6&sid=1. Retrieved 2009-07-23. 
  29. ^ Petroski claims that pencil grades vary "depending upon the manufacturer, when the pencils are made, and the source of graphite and clay. One analyst found that graphitic carbon content, for example, to vary from about 30 to about 65 in a variety of different pencils bearing the same designation." Petroski, 1990, page 229
  30. ^ 75% of the 2.8 billion pencils made in the United States are painted yellow (Steve Ritter "Pencils & Pencil Lead", Chemical & Engineering News, Volume 79, Number 42 page 35, 15 October 2001). Pubs.acs.org
  31. ^ Petroski, 1990, pp. 162-163
  32. ^ Eagle Pencil Company applied for the trademark Mirado in 1947 (US Trademark 71515261). It is common belief that this was an attempt to disassociate the pencil brand from Japan, as one of the meanings of Mikado is emperor of Japan. Petroski (Petroski, 1990) states that Eagle Pencil Company changed the name after the Attack on Pearl Harbor.
  33. ^ Mikado/Mirado pencils were originally made by Eagle Pencil Company--today Berol--but can also be found today under the trademark Papermate and Sanford as Sanford owns Berol and the trademark Papermate Brandnamepencils.com Mirado Pencil
  34. ^ "Eberhard Faber Pencil Gallery". Pencilpages.com. http://www.pencilpages.com/gallery/eberhard-faber/mongol.htm. Retrieved 2009-07-23. 
  35. ^ Originally made by Eberhard Faber the Mongol trademark is now owned by Sanford Timberlines.blogspot.com Timberlines Blog "Mongolized" 31 August 2005. Retrieved 23 August 2007.
  36. ^ a b c d "Famous Pencil Pushers". Readers Digest. http://www.readersdigest.com.au/content/printContent.do?contentId=109024. 
  37. ^ Faber-castell.co.nz, Faber Castell's friends
  38. ^ a b c Categories of Wax-Based Drawing Media, palimpsest.stanford.edu
  39. ^ Doug Martin (2000). "Carpenter's Pencils". Pencilpages.com. http://www.pencilpages.com/articles/carpentr.htm. Retrieved 2009-07-23. 
  40. ^ "History Pencils & Historic Packaging" Faber Castell Australia
  41. ^ "Oldest Known Pencil in Existence". Pencilpages.com. http://www.pencilpages.com/gallery/oldest.htm. Retrieved 2009-07-23. 
  42. ^ Liz Dube. "The Copying Pencil: Composition, History, and Conservation Implications". Aic.stanford.edu. http://aic.stanford.edu/sg/bpg/annual/v17/bp17-05.html. Retrieved 2009-07-23. 
  43. ^ "The Magic of Purple Pencil". Blog.awm.gov.au. 2007-04-17. http://blog.awm.gov.au/lambert/?p=95. Retrieved 2009-07-23. 
  44. ^ "L. & C. Hardmuth Koh-I-Noor Kopierstift 1561". Penciltalk.org. http://www.penciltalk.org/2006/03/l-c-hardmuth-koh-i-noor-kopierstift-1561. Retrieved 2009-07-23. 
  45. ^ "Art Supplies". Mccannas.com. http://www.mccannas.com/sketch/supply.htm. Retrieved 2009-07-23. 
  46. ^ "Sketch to Paint in Photoshop". Digitalartsonline.co.uk. http://www.digitalartsonline.co.uk/tutorials/index.cfm?FeatureID=1625. Retrieved 2009-07-23. 
  47. ^ "Tools of the Trade Papers Pencils and Erases". smackjeeves.com. http://smacktalk.smackjeeves.com/03-paperpencilserasers/. Retrieved 2009-07-23. 
  48. ^ "See comment "As a professional copy-editor..."". Pencilrevolution.com. http://www.pencilrevolution.com/2005/10/writing-in-color/. Retrieved 2009-07-23. 
  49. ^ "Sanford Col-Erase Copy Not Pencils-You Can't Copy This Baby!". Epinions.com. http://www.epinions.com/content_285308063364. Retrieved 2009-07-23. 
  50. ^ "Paper and Pencil Blog "Reporter Pencils"". Penciltalk.org. http://www.penciltalk.org/2006/06/reporter-pencils. Retrieved 2009-07-23. 
  51. ^ File:PencilMeasurement.jpg
  52. ^ World's largest pencil. The Pencil Pages.
  53. ^ World’s largest pencil unveiled in New York. Sri Chinmoy News.
  54. ^ World's largest pencil (video). Metacafe.com.
  55. ^ For information about this invention see the writeup on ADL Chronicles The Epcon Plastic Pencil, adlittlechronicles.blogspot.com.

References

  • Petroski, Henry (1990). The Pencil: A History of Design and Circumstance. New York: Alfred A. Knopf. ISBN 0-394-57422-2. 
  • Petroski, Henry. H. D. Thoreau, Engineer.. 5. 8–16. 

External links


1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

PENCIL (Lat. penicillus, brush, literally little tail), a name originally applied to a small fine-pointed brush used in painting, and still employed to denote the finer camel's-hair and sable brushes used by artists, but now commonly signifying solid cones or rods of various materials used for writing and drawing. It has been asserted that a manuscript of Theophilus, attributed to the 13th century, shows signs of having been ruled with a black-lead pencil; but the first distinct allusion occurs in the treatise on fossils by Conrad Gesner of Zurich (1565), who describes an article for writing formed of wood and a piece of lead, or, as he believed, an artificial composition called by some stimmi anglicanum (English antimony). The famous Borrowdale mine in Cumberland having been discovered about that time, it is probable that we have here the first allusion to that great find of graphite. While the supply of the Cumberland mine lasted, the material for English pencils consisted simply of the native graphite as taken from the mine. The pieces were sawn into thin sheets, which again were cut into the slender square rods forming the "lead" of the pencil.

Strenuous efforts were made on the continent of Europe and in England to enable manufacturers to become independent of the product of the Cumberland mine. In Nuremberg, where the great pencil factory of the Faber family (q.v.) was established in 1760, pencils were made from pulverized graphite cemented into solid blocks by means of gums, resins, glue, sulphur and other such substances, but none of these preparations yielded useful pencils. In the year 1795 N. J. Conte, of Paris, devised the process by which now all black-lead pencils, and indeed pencils of all sorts, are manufactured. In 1843 William Brockedon patented a process for compressing pure black-lead powder into solid compact blocks by which he was enabled to use the dust, fragments, and cuttings of fine Cumberland lead. Brockedon's process would have proved successful but the exhaustion of the Borrowdale supplies and the excellence of Conte's process rendered it more of scientific interest than of commercial value.

The pencil leads prepared by the Conte process consist of a mixture of graphite and clay. The graphite, having been pulverized and subjected to any necessary purifying processes, is "floated" through a series of settling tanks, in each of which the comparatively heavy particles sink, and only the still finer particles are carried over. That which sinks in the last of the series is in a condition of extremely fine division, and is used for pencils of the highest quality. The clay, which must be free from sand and iron, is treated in the same manner. Clay and graphite so prepared are mixed together in varying proportions with water to a paste, passed repeatedly through a grinding mill, then placed in bags and squeezed in a hydraulic press till they have the consistency of stiff dough, in which condition they are ready for forming pencil rods. For this purpose the plastic mass is placed in a strong upright cylinder, from which a plunger or piston, moved by a screw, forces it out through a perforated base-plate in a continuous thread. This thread is finally divided into suitable lengths, which are heated in a closed crucible for some hours. The two factors which determine the comparative hardness and blackness of pencils are the proportions of graphite and clay in the leads and the heat to which they are raised in the crucible. According as the proportion of graphite is greater and the heat lower the pencil is softer and of deeper black streak.

The wood in which the leads are cased is pencil cedar from Juniperus virginiana for the best qualities, and pine for the cheaper ones. A board of the selected wood, having a thickness about equal to half the diameter of the finished pencil and as wide as four or six pencils, is passed through a machine which smooths the surface and cuts round or square grooves to receive the leads. The leads being placed in the grooves the board is covered with another similarly grooved board, and the two are fastened together with glue. When dry they are taken to rapidly revolving cutters which remove the wood between the leads. The individual pencils thus formed only need to be finished by being dyed and varnished and stamped with name, grade, &c. Instead of wood, paper has been tried for the casings, rolled on in narrow strips which are torn off to expose fresh lead as the point becomes worn down by use. Black pencils of an inferior quality are made from the dust of graphite melted up with sulphur and run into moulds. Such, with a little tallow added to give them softness, are the pencils commonly used by carpenters. Coloured pencils consist of a mixture of clay, with appropriate mineral colouring matter, wax, and tallow, treated by the Conte method, as in making lead pencils. In indelible and copying pencils the colouring matter is an aniline preparation mixed with clay and gum. The mixture not only makes a streak which adheres to the paper, but, when the writing is moistened with water, it dissolves and assumes the appearance and properties of an ink.


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Simple English


A pencil is a hexagonal prism or cylinder-shaped tool used to write and draw, usually on paper.

Contents

Structure

A pencil is usually made with a piece of carbon mixed with clay that has a wood case around it. Coloured pencils are a type of pencil that instead of greyish silver, the tip is a different color. Coloured pencils or crayons are usually meant for drawing rather than writing.

Pens and Pencils

An important difference between pens and pencils is that the tip of a pencil is made of graphite (some call it lead) and pens have tips made of metal with ink coming out of the bottom. Pencil writings do not smudge or wash away if the paper gets wet, unlike pens which have ink. Writing with a pen will usually smudge. Writing from a pencil can be erased, but writing from a pen usually cannot. Finally, while pens have been around for thousands of years, pencils have only been around for about three hundred.

History

[[File:|thumb|Old Soviet colour pencils with box (circa 1959)]] The archetypal pencil may have been the stylus, which was a thin metal stick, often made from lead and used for scratching in papyrus, a form of early paper. They were used extensively by the ancient Egyptians and Romans. The word pencil comes from the Latin word pencillus which means "little tail".

Discovery of graphite deposit

Some time before 1565 (some sources say as early as 1500), an enormous deposit of graphite was discovered on the approach to Grey Knotts from the hamlet of Seathwaite in Borrowdale parish, Cumbria, England.[1][2][3] The locals found that it was very useful for marking sheep. This particular deposit of graphite was extremely pure and solid, and it could easily be sawn into sticks. This remains the only large scale deposit of graphite ever found in this solid form.[4] Chemistry was in its infancy and the substance was thought to be a form of lead. Consequently, it was called plumbago (Latin for "lead ore").[5][6] The black core of pencils is still referred to as lead, even though it never contained the element lead. In German, the word for pencil still is Bleistift, literally lead stick.

The value of graphite was soon realized to be enormous, mainly because it could be used to line the moulds for cannonballs, and the mines were taken over by the Crown and guarded. When sufficient stocks of graphite had been accumulated, the mines were flooded to prevent theft until more was required. Graphite had to be smuggled out for use in pencils. Because graphite is soft, it requires some form of case. Graphite sticks were at first wrapped in string or in sheepskin for stability. The news of the usefulness of these early pencils spread far and wide, attracting the attention of artists all over the known world.

Although deposits of graphite had been found in other parts of the world, they were not of the same purity and quality as the Borrowdale find, and had to be crushed to remove the impurities, leaving only graphite powder.[needs proof] England continued to enjoy a monopoly on the production of pencils until a method of reconstituting the graphite powder was found. The distinctively square English pencils continued to be made with sticks cut from natural graphite into the 1860s. The town of Keswick, near the original findings of block graphite, has a pencil museum.[7]

The first attempt to manufacture graphite sticks from powdered graphite was in Nuremberg, Germany, in 1662. It used a mixture of graphite, sulphur, and antimony.

Residual graphite from a pencil stick is not poisonous, and graphite is harmless if consumed.[8]

No. 2 Pencils

The number 2 pencil got its title from the shade of darkness it has (second most dark) from pencil #1-5. This pencil's shape is typically hexagonal and is frequently wood cased. They can write under water, upside down and in space. They can also write up to 45000 words[needs proof].

Wood holders added

The Italians first thought of wooden holders. An Italian couple, in particular, named Simonio and Lyndiana Bernacotti, were believed[who?][when?] to be the ones to create the first blueprints for the modern carpentry pencil for the purpose of marking their carpentry pieces; however, their version was instead a flat, oval, more compact type of pencil. They did this at first by hollowing out a stick of juniper wood. Shortly thereafter, a superior technique was discovered: two wooden halves were carved, a graphite stick inserted, and the two halves then glued together—essentially the same method in use to this day.[needs proof][9]

English and German pencils were not available to the French during the Napoleonic Wars; France, under naval blockade imposed by Great Britain, was unable to import the pure graphite sticks from the British Grey Knotts mines – the only known source in the world for solid graphite. France was also unable to import the inferior German graphite pencil substitute. It took the efforts of an officer in Napoleon's army to change this. In 1795, Nicholas Jacques Conté discovered a method of mixing powdered graphite with clay and forming the mixture into rods that were then fired in a kiln. By varying the ratio of graphite to clay, the hardness of the graphite rod could also be varied. This method of manufacture, which had been earlier discovered by the Austrian Joseph Hardtmuth of Koh-I-Noor in 1790, remains in use.[needs proof]

In England, pencils continued to be made from whole sawn graphite. Henry Bessemer's first successful invention (1838) was a method of compressing graphite powder into solid graphite thus allowing the waste from sawing to be reused.[10]

File:Pencil
Pencil manufacturing. The top sequence shows the old method that required pieces of graphite to be cut to size; the lower sequence is the new, current method using rods of graphite and clay

American colonists imported pencils from Europe until after the American Revolution. Benjamin Franklin advertised pencils for sale in his Pennsylvania Gazette in 1729, and George Washington used a three-inch pencil when he surveyed the Ohio Territory in 1762.[needs proof] It is said that William Munroe, a cabinetmaker in Concord, Massachusetts, made the first American wood pencils in 1812. This was not the only pencil-making occurring in Concord. According to Henry Petroski, transcendentalist philosopher Henry David Thoreau discovered how to make a good pencil out of inferior graphite using clay as the binder; this invention was prompted by his father's pencil factory in Concord, which employed graphite found in New Hampshire in 1821 by Charles Dunbar.

Munroe's method of making pencils was painstakingly slow, and in the neighbouring town of Acton, a pencil mill owner named Ebenezer Wood set out to automate the process at his own pencil mill located at Nashoba Brook along the old Davis Road. He used the first circular saw in pencil production. He constructed the first of the hexagon- and octagon-shaped wooden casings that we have today. Ebenezer did not patent his invention and shared his techniques with whomever asked. One of those was Eberhard Faber of New York, who became the leader in pencil production.[11]

Joseph Dixon, an inventor and entrepreneur involved with the Tantiusques granite mine in Sturbridge, Massachusetts, developed a means to mass produce pencils. By 1870, The Joseph Dixon Crucible Company was the world’s largest dealer and consumer of graphite and later became the contemporary Dixon Ticonderoga pencil and art supplies company.[12][13]

By the end of the 19th century over 240,000 pencils were used each day in the United States alone. The favoured timber for pencils was Red Cedar as it was aromatic and did not splinter when sharpened. In the early 1900s supplies of Red Cedar were dwindling so that pencil manufacturers were forced to recycle the wood from cedar fences and barns to maintain supply. Britain went as far as declaring the use of pencil sharpeners illegal to discourage unnecessary sharpening.[needs proof] It was soon discovered that Incense cedar, when dyed and perfumed to resemble Red Cedar, was a suitable alternative and most pencils today are made from this timber which is grown in managed forests. Over 14 billion pencils are manufactured worldwide annually.[14]

Eraser attached

[[File:|thumb|220px|Drawing of pencil with an attached eraser from its patent application]]On 30 March 1858, Hymen Lipman received the first patent for attaching an eraser to the end of a pencil.[15] In 1862 Lipman sold his patent to Joseph Reckendorfer for $100,000, who went to sue the pencil manufacturer Faber-Castell for infringement.[16] In 1875, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled against Reckendorfer declaring the patent invalid.[17]

The metal band used to mate the eraser with pencil is called a ferrule.

Other attempts

The first attempt to manufacture graphite sticks from powdered graphite was in Nuremberg, Germany in 1662. They used a mixture of graphite, sulfur and antimony. Though usable, they were not as good as the English pencils.

English and German pencils were not available to the French during the Napoleonic wars. It took the efforts of an officer in Napoleon's army to change this. In 1795 Nicholas Jacques Conté discovered a method of mixing powdered graphite with clay and forming the mixture into rods which were then fired in a kiln. By varying the ratio of graphite to clay, the hardness of the graphite rod could also be varied (the more clay, the harder the pencil, and the lighter the color of the mark). This method of making pencils is still used today.

Modern day pencils

Today, pencils are made industrially by mixing finely ground graphite and clay powders, adding water, forming long spaghetti-like strings, and firing them in a kiln. The resulting strings are dipped in oil or molten wax which seeps into the tiny holes of the material, resulting in smoother writing. A juniper or incense-cedar plank with several long parallel grooves is cut to make something called a slat, and the graphite/clay strings are inserted into the grooves. Another grooved plank is glued on top, and the whole thing is then cut into individual pencils, which are then varnished or painted.

References

  1. Martin and Jean Norgate, Geography Department, Portsmouth University (2008). "Old Cumbria Gazetteer, black lead mine, Seathwaite". http://www.geog.port.ac.uk/webmap/thelakes/html/lgaz/lk00976.htm. Retrieved 2008-05-19. 
  2. Alfred Wainwright (2005). A Pictorial Guide to the Lakeland Fells, Western Fells. ISBN 0-7112-2460-9. 
  3. "Graphite from the Plumbago Mine, Borrowdale, England". Department of Physics at Michigan Technological University. http://www.phy.mtu.edu/~jaszczak/borrowdale.html. Retrieved 2008-03-27. 
  4. "Lakeland's Mining Heritage". www.cumbria-industries.org.uk. http://www.cumbria-industries.org.uk/wad.htm. Retrieved 2008-03-27. 
  5. "Definition of Plumbago". Answers.com. http://www.answers.com/topic/plumbago. Retrieved 2007-04-21. 
  6. "Definition of Plumbago". Thefreedictionary.com. http://www.thefreedictionary.com/plumbago. Retrieved 2007-04-21. 
  7. "Keswick Pencil Museum". Pencilmuseum.co.uk. http://www.pencilmuseum.co.uk/. Retrieved 2009-07-23. 
  8. "Graphite - Identification, toxicity, use, water pollution potential, ecological toxicity, and regulatory information". Pesticideinfo.org. http://www.pesticideinfo.org/Detail_Chemical.jsp?Rec_Id=PC33124. Retrieved 2009-07-23. 
  9. Historyofscience.com
  10. Bessemer, Henry. "Sir Henry Bessemer, F.R.S: An Autobiography. Chapter 3."
  11. "Acton Conservation Lands, Early American Pencils". Actontrails.org. http://www.actontrails.org/EAPencils.htm. Retrieved 2009-07-23. 
  12. "Dixon Ticonderoga Company". Dixonusa.com. http://www.dixonusa.com/index.cfm/fuseaction=history.dixon. Retrieved 2009-07-23. 
  13. "Tantiusques Graphite Mine". Thetrustees.org. http://www.thetrustees.org/pages/368_tantiusques.cfm. Retrieved 2009-07-23. 
  14. "The Point Of It All". Discovery Channel Magazine. Volume 1, Issue 5, 2008
  15. "US Patent 19783 Combination of Lead-Pencil and Eraser by L. Lipman". Patft.uspto.gov. http://patft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?patentnumber=19783. Retrieved 2009-07-23. 
  16. Petroski, Henry (1990). The Pencil: A History of Design and Circumstance. New York: Alfred A. Knopf. pp. 171. ISBN 0-394-57422-2. 
  17. "Reckendorfer v. Faber 92 U.S. 347 (1875)". Supreme.justia.com. http://supreme.justia.com/us/92/347/case.html. Retrieved 2009-07-23. 
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