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The Secrets of a Pencil Case

Rhona Lewis

Do you have any idea how many years and how many attempts went into the invention of everything in your pencil case? Here’s the story behind some of the most common items you take to school.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Pencils: In the early 1500s an enormous deposit of graphite was discovered that was so pure and solid that it could be sawn into sticks. Farmers wrapped the graphite sticks in string or sheepskin and used them to mark sheep. People thought that the graphite was a form of lead, which is why the black core of pencils is still called “lead.” The Italians were the first to transform this granite into pencils — by carving two wooden halves, inserting a graphite stick, and then gluing the two halves together. This method is still used today!

Each year, over 14 billion pencils are manufactured worldwide. Most pencils are graded using the letters “H” (for hardness) and “B” (for blackness). The standard writing pencil is graded HB. A very hard pencil is graded HH, and a very soft one BB.

 

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