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Monday, March 30, 2015


PENCILMANIA--Imagine learning that after living for decades “put some lead in your pencil” that there is no lead in real pencils.  Whom do we need to sack in the cliché development bureau?

After very little research, we discovered the "lead" pencil (which contains no lead) was invented in 1564 when a huge graphite (black carbon) mine was discovered in Borrowdale, Cumbria, England. The pure graphite was sawn into sheets and then cut into square rods. The graphite rods were inserted into hand-carved wooden holders, forming pencils.

But, on this day in 1858 pencils with attached eraser was patented by American Hyman L. Lipman of Philadelphia.

Welcome to the state of pencilmania:
--Today is Happy National Pencil Day celebrating Mr. Lipman.
--According to the Roanoke Times in Virginia, writer Robert Linsford pointed out “in Middle English the word, spelled pencel, meant “artist’s brush.” It was borrowed from Old French pincel or peincel, related to Modern French peinture “painting.” The French inherited the word from the Latin penicillus, for “little tail.”

Also: Do you know why pencils are yellow?

The emergence of Siberian graphite as the standard led manufacturers to associate pencils with the Orient by using names such as Mongol and Mikado and painting them yellow, a color associated with royalty and respect in China.

Pencils have their own blog:

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