Since the 13th century, artists have used thin silver wire to paint. Such a tool was called a "silver pencil" and required a high level of skill, since it was impossible to erase what was drawn by it. Another characteristic of it was that over time, gray strokes applied with a silver pencil turned brown. There was also a "lead pencil" that left a subtle but clear mark and was often used for preparatory sketches of portraits. For drawings made with silver and lead pencil, a subtle line style is characteristic. For example, Dürer used similar pencils.
The so-called Italian pencil is also known, which appeared in the XIV century. It was a rod of black clayey shale. Then they began to make it from burnt bone powder, fastened with vegetable glue. This tool allowed you to create an intense and rich line. Interestingly, artists still sometimes use silver, lead and Italian pencils when they need to achieve a certain effect.
Graphite pencils have been around since the 16th century. A powerful storm that passed through England in the area of Cumberland uprooted the trees, and then local shepherds discovered in the exposed earth under the uprooted roots a kind of dark mass, which they considered coal, which, however, could not be set on fire. Due to the color similar to the color of lead, the deposit was mistaken for deposits of this metal, but the new material was also unsuitable for making bullets. Then, after various tests, they realized that this mass leaves good marks on objects and used this to mark their sheep. Later, they began to make thin sticks pointed at the end from it and used them for drawing. These sticks were soft, stained your hands, and were only suitable for drawing, not writing.
In the 17th century, graphite was usually sold on the streets. To make it more comfortable and the stick was not so soft, artists clamped these graphite "pencils" between pieces of wood or twigs, wrapped them in paper or tied them with twine.
The first document that mentions a wooden pencil is dated 1683. In Germany, the production of graphite pencils began in Stein near Nuremberg in 1719. The Germans, mixing graphite with sulfur and glue, received a rod of not such high quality, but at a lower price. In 1758, the carpenter Kaspar Faber also settled in Stein and began his production of pencils in 1761. What was the beginning of the history of the Faber-Castell company.
In 1789, scientist Karl Wilhelm Scheele proved that graphite is a material made of carbon. He also gave the present name to the material - graphite (from ancient Greek γράφω - I am writing). Since graphite was used for strategic purposes at the end of the 18th century, for example, for the production of a crucible for cannonballs, the British Parliament imposed a strictest ban on the export of precious graphite from Cumberland. The prices of graphite in continental Europe rose sharply, as at that time only graphite from Cumberland was considered exceptional for writing. In 1790, the Viennese craftsman Josef Hardmut mixed graphite dust with clay and water and burned this mixture in an oven. Depending on the amount of clay in the mixture, he was able to obtain material of varying hardness. In the same year, Joseph Hardmuth founded the Koh-i-Noor Hardtmuth pencil business, named after the Koh-i-noor diamond (Pers. کوہ نور - "Mountain of Light"). His grandson Friedrich von Hardmut improved the formulation of the mixture and in 1889 was able to produce rods with 17 different degrees of hardness.
Independently of Hartmuth, in 1795 the French scientist and inventor Nicolas Jacques Conte obtained a rod from graphite dust by a similar method. Hartmut and Conte are equally the forefathers of the modern pencil rod. Until the middle of the 19th century, this technology was widely used throughout Europe, which led to the emergence of such famous Nuremberg pencil factories as Staedtler, Faber-Castell, Lyra and Schwan-Stabilo. The hexagonal shape of the pencil case was proposed in 1851 by Count Lothar von Faber-Castell, owner of the Faber-Castell factory, noticing that round pencils often roll off inclined writing surfaces. This form is still produced by various manufacturers.
In modern leads, polymers are used, which make it possible to achieve the desired combination of strength and elasticity, make it possible to produce very thin leads for mechanical pencils (up to 0.3 mm).
Almost ² / 3 of the material that makes up a simple pencil goes to waste when sharpening it. This prompted the American Alonso Townsend Cross to create a mechanical pencil in 1869. The graphite rod was placed in a metal tube and could, if necessary, be extended to an appropriate length.
Did you know that:
In the past, a special type of graphite pencil was produced - copying pencils (usually called "chemical"). To obtain indelible marks, water-soluble dyes (eosin, rhodamine, or auramine) were added to the pencil shaft.
The famous French cartoonist Emmanuel Poiret (1858-1909), who was born in Russia, invented the pseudonym Caran d'Ache, which sounded aristocratic in the French manner, with which he began to sign his works. Later, this version of the French transcription of the Russian word "pencil", derived from the Turkic "kara dash" (black stone), was chosen as the name and trademark of the Swiss brand CARAN d'ACHE, founded in Geneva in 1924, producing exclusive writing instruments and accessories. ...
A pencil with HB hardness and 17.5 cm length can:
draw a line 56 km long (2010; for comparison: in 1994 - 51.5 km, in 1998 - 54.7 km, in 2005 - 55.1 km, in 2008 - 55.8 km);
write about 45, 000 words;
be sharpened 17 times.
Before breaking, the middle pointed tip of the pencil resists the pressure of 255 atmospheres or 264 kg / cm².
More than 14 billion pencils are produced in the world every year - from this amount, you can lay out a chain that will circle our planet 62 times.
Bernard Lassimon, a French mathematician, received the first patent (French patent No. 2444) for pencil sharpeners in 1828.
NASA has invested several million dollars in developing a pen that can be written in space, and the Russian astronauts used simple pencils.