If you're like us, you probably use pencils every day, and you probably take them for granted. That is, until someone shows up and says “pencils?” and you admit you know next-to-nothing about them. When we got into the business of personalizing pencils, we wanted to learn more about them and discovered that there are some really cool facts about pencils, which is why we made this article.1. Many famous authors felt extra inspired when writing with a pencil.
John Steinbeck and Ernest Hemingway were known to be big fans of the pencil. Hemingway would use a typewriter to compose letters but used a pencil for his serious work.2. One of Ernest Hemingway’s tips for writing fiction was to write with a pencil.
Hemingway said, “If you write with a pencil you get three different sights at it to see if the reader is getting what you want him to. First when you read it over; then when it is typed you get another chance to improve it and again in the proof. Writing it first in pencil gives you one-third more chance to improve it.”3. The average pencil can write 45,000 words.
In 2007, a group of volunteers decided to put this theory to the test. They were able to write “To Kill a Mockingbird” using only one pencil. The novel contains 100,388 words.4. In 2008, pencil sales spiked by 700% in London, England.
Due to the popularity of Sudoku puzzles in 2008, London’s pencil sales saw a significant increase.5. Before erasers were introduced, people would use breadcrumbs to erase their mistakes.
Before erasers, people would use lumps of bread to erase their mistakes. As you can imagine these "erasers" weren't very efficient since they were supseptible, like all bread, to mold and rot.6. Originally, pencils were only manufactured to be round.
People found this to be quite frustrating since round pencils would often roll off of surfaces. For this reason, the popular hexagonal pencil shape was introduced.7. Historically, pencils have never contained any lead.
So why do we refer to the core of a pencil as "lead"? When graphite was discovered, it was thought to be a form of lead. Pencils today contain a mixture of graphite and clay, which was first introduced by Conté in 1795.8. More than 14 billion pencils are produced in the world annually.
Believe it or not, that's enough pencils to circle the globe 62 times.9. Why are most pencils yellow?
In the 19th century, the best graphite came from China. In China, the color yellow is associated with royalty and respect. To communicate a luxurious, high-quality vibe, American manufacturers started painting their pencils yellow.10. The word "pencil" comes from an Old French word.
The word “pencil” comes from the Old French word “pincel” which means “a small paintbrush”.
11. Flying to space? Don't bring a pencil.
In the early years of space flight, pencils were used in space. Pencil lead is made of graphite, a highly conductive material which can wreak havoc on a spacecraft. Without gravity, snapped graphite leads and particles can cause problems. When caught in electronic equipment, they can cause short circuits and start fires. After a cabin fire on Apollo 1 in 1967 killed all the astronauts on board, NASA required a writing utensil that wasn't a fire hazard and pencils were no longer welcome on board.
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Now that you're able to fully appreciate the beauty of a #2 HB pencil, we think it's time to personalize some pencils of your own.