Thursday’s 13: Sharpen Up and Get the Lead Out ! ! !

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.)

  1. Usually, the only lead in pencils are traces in the paint on the wood casings.
  2. The core is a mix of graphite and clay; the more graphite, the softer and darker the point.
  3. The Romans made rules on papyrus scrolls with lead discs—hence the “lead” pencil ???
  4. They used a brush a “pencillus” to write across the lines they’d made.
  5. A fierce rainstorm in 1564 England, exposed vast supply of pure graphite, which the townspeople mistook for a form of lead.
  6. In 1565, a German-Swiss naturalist, Konrad von Gesner reported using pieces of graphite secured in a wooden holder to make notes and sketches.
  7. This was an certainly an early “pencil,” if not the first one.
  8. Annually, around 10 pencils per American are produced.
  9. The demise of the pencil has been widely predicted ever since the first practical typewriter.
  10. This eminent demise is reinforced with every new communications tool and calculating device.
  11. Today’s typical pencil could trace a 35-mile-long line or write 45,000 words.
  12. 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.
  13. So, Artistes, sharpen up, and get the lead out!

See you day-after-tomorrow for Saturday’s Softcover!


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