Scribes of Ancient Egypt used reed pens which were made from a single reed straw, cut and shaped into a point. As a surface for writing with these pens was used papyrus. Reed pens didn’t last long when used and were too stiff so they were replaced with quills. Quills are pens made from flight feathers of large birds.
Early settlers depended on pencils from overseas until the war with England cut off imports. William Monroe, a Concord, Massachusetts cabinet-maker, is credited with making America’s first wood pencils in 1812. The first mass-produced pencils were natural and unpainted to show off high-quality wood casings.
First graphite sticks, earliest pencils, were square in shape and wrapped in string or sheepskin because graphite is brittle and not to leave marks on the user’s hand. Nicholas Jacques Conté, an officer in Napoleon’s army, mixed powdered graphite with clay and burned it in a kiln in 1795.
In the early 1700’s, most writing was done with a pen on paper. It sounds pretty normal, except that the pen was made out of a goose feather, and the paper… Well, that wasn’t quite the same as ours either. Paper, as most of us know, was invented by the Chinese.
At the time of the Cumbria discovery, pencils were not made the way they are today. Instead, blocks of graphite were sawed into sticks to be used as writing implements. Because chemistry was a young science at the time, people thought graphite was a form of lead; hence the name given to pencils.
Credit for our modern version of the school system usually goes to Horace Mann. When he became Secretary of Education in Massachusetts in 1837, he set forth his vision for a system of professional teachers who would teach students an organized curriculum of basic content.
“B” or “ 2B ” pencils as well according to the same FAQ. Generally, a # 2 pencil is about the equivalent of an HB pencil. According to this system, pencils are graded on a continuum for “H” (hardness) and “B” (blackness), with a number to say how hard or how black it is.
Ink is as old as pen and maybe even older. Chinese knew about ink in 23rd century BC. They made plant, animal, and mineral inks and used it for painting on silk and paper. The best ink they used was made from pine sap made from trees that were between 50 and 100 years old.
American pencil makers wanted a special way to tell people that their pencils contained Chinese graphite. In China, the color yellow is associated with royalty and respect. American pencil manufacturers began painting their pencils bright yellow to communicate this “regal” feeling and association with China.
It’s true that most pencils don’t go for a lot of money, but some are well worth saving. Some of the most sought after and valuable pencils are ones made in Concord MA in the 1820s-1830s by famed author Henry David Thoreau and his father. They can command hundreds of dollars to over $1k.
Carpenter pencils are easier to grip than standard pencils, because they have a larger surface area. The non-round core allows thick or thin lines to be drawn by rotating the pencil. The flat pencil is one of the oldest pencil types. The first versions were made by hollowing out sticks of juniper wood.
1, 2, 2.5, 3, and 4 pencils —and sometimes other intermediate numbers. The higher the number, the harder the core and lighter the markings. (No. 1 pencils produce darker markings, which are sometimes preferred by people working in publishing.)
Well, it all has to do with the HB graphite grading scale used to classify the pencil’s graphite core. The hardness of the graphite core is often marked on the pencil — look for a number (such as “ 2 ” “ 2 -1/ 2 ” or “3”) — and the higher the number, the harder the writing core and the lighter the mark left on the paper.
First, allow me to define terms: a pen is an instrument you use to apply ink to wood, papyrus, paper, or some other material; a pencil is a graphite writing instrument that doesn’t use ink. If those terms are okay, then the pen appeared way before the pencil. Egyptians had pens way back when, and so did the Mayans.