0 It's National Pencil Day — Write On!

National Pencil Day, March 30
Photo credit: George Hart
Today we celebrate a good quality Number 2 . . .

March 30 is National Pencil Day!

What did you think I meant?

I'm partial to the mechanical version, but this day honors Hymen Lipman (that's really his name), who received a patent for his wooden pencil with an attached eraser on March 30, 1858.

So put your keyboard/smartphone away and grab a sharpened pencil. And maybe a Scantron test sheet or two — oh, how I love those!
Did you know?

  • In Middle English the word, spelled pencel, meant "artist's brush." It was borrowed from Old French pincel or peincel, related to Modern French peinture "painting." The French inherited the word from the Latin penicillus, for "little tail."
  • In 1795, French chemist Nicholas Jacques Conte received a patent for the modern process for making pencil leads by mixing powdered graphite and clay to form sticks and hardening them in a furnace. The gradient of the pencil (No. 2 versus No. 2.5) is based on the amount of clay initially added to the mixture.
  • The emergence of Siberian graphite as the standard led manufacturers to associate pencils with the Orient by using names such as Mongol and Mikado and painting them yellow, a color associated with royalty and respect in China.
  • An average-sized tree makes about 170,000 pencils. The average pencil can draw a line 35 miles long, or write about 45,000 words.
> Read more fun facts about pencils
Here's a clip from The Science Channel's How It's Made that gets right to the point about how pencils are manufactured...

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