National Pencil Day 2023: On March 30, which is National Pencil Day, you can learn more about these old writing tools. This simple tool has been so important to people. It lets people express themselves, helps them find their imagination, and works with all kinds of scribbles and doodles. Did you know that you can write up to 45,000 words with just one pencil? Pencils have been around for a long time and their designs have changed many times, but have you ever thought who had the great idea to put an eraser on a pencil? Well, Hymen Lipman was the one who came up with this great idea and made our lives easy. On this day, we honour this wonderful creature.
HISTORY OF NATIONAL PENCIL DAY
Who would have thought that a graphite core wrapped in wood could do so many different and very important things?
People wrote before the pencil as we know it, but they used things like a fine brush made of camel hair or a stylus. (ancient Romans). Philip of Thessaloniki, a Greek poet who lived in the first century B.C., wrote about “lead writing instruments.”
One of the first writing tools was the pencil, which is thought to have been made after graphite was found in the 1600s. This crystalline form of carbon was found near Keswick, England, around 1565 or even earlier. The story goes that a storm toppled a tree here, and on the tree’s roots was a shiny, black material called graphite. There is no proof that this is how graphite was found. What we do know is that a few decades later, this place was turned into an industrial graphite mine. Around this time, people started writing with a piece of graphite wrapped in a bit of string.
A German scientist named A. G. Werner gave it the name “graphite,” which comes from the Greek word “graphein,” which means “to write.” In the early days after graphite was found, only local farmers used it to mark their sheep. People called it plumbago, which is the Latin word for lead, or even “black lead” because it looked so much like lead. This meaning stuck to chalk, and so it also stuck to pencils. After Swiss naturalist Conrad Gessner released his drawing of a strip of graphite inside a tube of wood, the “pencil” started to spread through Europe. At this time, Britain still had a stranglehold on making pencils and graphite. But because France was at war with Britain in 1794, it could no longer get these pencils. So, Nicolas-Jacques Conté, a French engineer, came up with “Crayons Conté,” which were made of low-quality graphite mixed with clay, rolled into sticks, and cooked. European pencil makers no longer had to buy pencils from the British.
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National Pencil Day 2023: BACKGROUND
After Conté came up with his idea, other people came up with new ways to make pencils. Each country—Germany, France, and the United States—did their own trials, and pencil making became common all over the world. The wood around these pencils was not as good as the pencils themselves. In fact, it wasn’t always very good. People soon thought of colouring pencils to hide how bad the wood was. Only the most expensive pencils were left alone. Then, at the World’s Fair in Paris in 1889, an Austro-Hungarian pencil company showed off a new yellow fancy pencil. It was called Koh-I-Noor after the world’s biggest and best diamond. Because of this, people came to think of yellow as a sign of quality, and many pencil makers started using this colour on their products. Even now, pencils and other writing tools in the U.S. are painted yellow to show that they are good.
What about the mistakes that people made when they wrote? Before there were erasers, people would use balls of old bread to fix mistakes. Then, in 1770, a priest who was also a scientist named Joseph Priestley found that gum from South American trees was very good at getting rid of pencil marks. People called this gum “rubber” because they had to rub it to get the marks off.
NATIONAL PENCIL DAY ACTIVITIES
Make a drawing without touching your pencil.
This is a fun thing to do whether or not you are an artist. Draw something without lifting your pencil off the paper. Even if you don’t look at the paper, you can draw a picture. Have fun expressing yourself with this tool.
Find a different way to use the pencil.
Most small plants need some kind of support as they grow. You can support a small plant you have at home by tying a pencil to it. It can also be used to make a picture frame for school or to keep moths away. (putting pencil shavings into cloth bags and storing them as satchels in your closet can repel moths.) Find new ways to use the simple pencil, and then go out and make something new!
Make your own pencils the way you want them.
Get your own personalised pencils with your name or a funny saying on them. You can get them made in many different ways. Look on the Internet for the best local company that makes customised pencils.
5 INTERESTING FACTS ABOUT PENCILS
Pencils last a long time.
A line drawn with one pencil can be up to 45 miles long.
They can be used in strange situations.
Pencils can also be used to write underwater and in space.
People want them a lot.
A little less than 14 billion pens are made each year.
Color is a sign of quality.
In the United States, pens that are the best quality are yellow.
The name comes from France.
The word “pencil” comes from the French word “pincel,” which means “pen.”
NATIONAL PENCIL DAY DATES