The term ‘pencil’ derives from the use of a feather quill to mount the hair of the original brush and therefore has the same origin as pen. ‘Pencil’ is now most commonly understood to mean writing or drawing instrument containing graphite ‘lead’.
Apparently the association between writing and the element lead arose during the Roman Empire, when lead rods were used as writing utensils because they leave a gray mark on paper.
The pencil was invented in Britain in the early 1500s, inventor unknown; it was based on graphite found at Borrowdale in the Lake District. The graphite was encased in string or sheepskin. The graphite was found for the first time in 1504 at the area of Borrowdale.
Borrowdale graphite has never been surpassed in quality. Britain’s world monopoly was eroded in the late 1700s, when a process of mixing lower quality graphite with clays was developed, after the graphite had been crushed to remove impurities, and when other deposits were found in the 1800s, overseas at the time when Borrowdale was anyway becoming depleted.
In 1760 the Faber pencil factory was established in Nuremberg. Their pencils were made from pulverized graphite cemented into solids blocks by means of gums, resins, glues, sulphur and other such substances.
History invention of pencils
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