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History and Development of Pencil

A pencil is a writing implement or an art medium made up of a narrow, solid pigment core inside a protective casing. Today, we use pencils for different purposes like drawing, writing, sketching, etc. but have we ever wondered about its origin.

Initially, there used to be Roman writing instruments called stylus. Stylus was made up of a thin metal rod. It used to leave a light readable mark on papyrus (an early form of paper). Other types of early styluses were made up of lead. Graphite came into picture in England in 1564. It was when large graphite deposits were discovered in Borrowdale. Although graphite left a dark mark but it was brittle and fragile. It required casing. At first, graphite sticks were wrapped in string. Afterwards, it was inserted into hollowed out wooden sticks and consequently the present day pencils were born. Pencils were produced in bulk for the first time in Nuremberg, Germanyin 1662. America’s first wooden pencils came up in 1812 as a result of the efforts of William Monroe. The early American pencils were made up of Eastern Red Cedar. The first mass produced pencils in America were unpainted. They were painted and the brand name was printed on it by the 1890’s. Today there are many companies from around the globe that deal in pencils. Over the last 20 years there has been a shift of pencil production towards Asia. The reasons for this include decrease in trade barriers; launch of containerized shipments of goods overseas; differences in raw material costs; lower cost of transporting people, information around the globe.

By: Anuja Arora