EASY AS A, B, C . . . from BB
(Thanks and a tip of the hat to Stories Behind Everyday Things, by Reader’s Digest, and edited by Jane Polley.)
- Usually, the only lead in pencils are traces in the paint on the wood casings.
- The core is a mix of graphite and clay; the more graphite, the softer and darker the point.
- The Romans made rules on papyrus scrolls with lead discs—hence the “lead” pencil ???
- They used a brush a “pencillus” to write across the lines they’d made.
- A fierce rainstorm in 1564 England, exposed vast supply of pure graphite, which the townspeople mistook for a form of lead.
- In 1565, a German-Swiss naturalist, Konrad von Gesner reported using pieces of graphite secured in a wooden holder to make notes and sketches.
- This was an certainly an early “pencil,” if not the first one.
- Annually, around 10 pencils per American are produced.
- The demise of the pencil has been widely predicted ever since the first practical typewriter.
- This eminent demise is reinforced with every new communications tool and calculating device.
- Today’s typical pencil could trace a 35-mile-long line or write 45,000 words.
- With only two pencils, a good supply of paper, and a “dash” of inspiration, an author can write a novel, or an artist can fill a gallery with sketches for just a few cents.
- So, Artistes, sharpen up, and get the lead out!
See you day-after-tomorrow for Saturday’s Softcover!