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Who Invented Pencil

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Who Invented Pencil

Who Invented Pencil

The credit for the invention of the pencil is given to Nicholas-Jacques Conte. He invented the modern pencil in 1795.

Nicholas-Jacques Conte and the Invention of Pencil

Nicholas-Jacques Conte, born in 1755, was an army officer who served in the army of Napoleon Bonaparte. He was also a scientist and inventor in France. Nicholas was charged to find an alternative to the graphite. He took around eight days and produced the lead. It took Nicholas just a week to device a process known as the Conte process. It was a process of making pencils from powdered graphite and clay, which is still used today.Graphite was used even before the invention of this process. However, the Conte process was unique as Nicholas found out how to mix powdered graphite with clay. His process was so efficient that by baking the mixture, pencils with varying hardness can be produced. Moreover, he also invented the machinery required for the production of round leads.

The graphite and the invention of the pencil

When a large deposit of graphite was discovered in Borrowdale, England, graphite was popularly used. Soon, it was observed that graphite makes darker marks as compared to the lead. Moreover, graphite is soft and brittle. Thus, a case to hold the graphite was necessary. Initially, graphite was shaped into sticks and was wrapped in string. Later on, wooden holders were used to covering the graphite. Hence leading to the invention of the wooden pencils we use today.

The History of Pencils

In ancient times people used stylus made up of lead rock to make impressions on the papyrus. Romans began using a stylus to write on the papyrus. Eventually, people began sawing graphite blocks and made sticks out of them for writing. Earlier, the pencil looked like crayons which were later developed with the wooden case. Attaching of an eraser at the end of pencils was not done until 1858.

Who Invented Pencil

The Evolution of Pencils

Beginning of the Invention

In the 1500s, graphite was discovered on a stormy night in Borrowdale when a tree uprooted after the storm. Afterward graphite was used as a lubricant in machines and people started their research and developing on the erasable writing methods. The chemical composition and its properties were later discovered in 1779.

Ancient Pencils

Pencils were first used to mark sheep. Later, people required to take notes and started using pencils for writing notes. Subsequently, the graphite sticks which were sawed and wrapped were widely used. Afterward, the wooden pencils came into the picture. These initially had square cross-section leads, which made them easy to manufacture.

Composites of Graphite

The small leftover pieces of pencils, which were difficult to use and wasted, were ground to convert into graphite powder. This graphite powder was again utilized to manufacture the new pencils. Binders like gum, wax, etc., were used to bind the graphite but made the pencils less dark.

Conte Method

In 1795 Nicholas Conte patented the Conte process, which later became popular in Europe.

Advantages of Pencils

Following are the advantages of pencils over other wring materials –

  • Pencils are cheaper.
  • Pencils provide a range of hardness degrees that can be selected according to their use.
  • Pencils are easy to use and handle, which is also why kids first learn to write using a pencil.
  • Pencils are reliable regardless of the temperature changes.
  • Pencils do not need a specific position for writing, and they can also be used to write in space.
  • Pencil marks can easily be erased to reduce mistakes.
  • Pencils last longer; hence one can write more using pencils.

How Pencils have affected our lives

Over the years, pencils have improved the way we work. It has added value to human society by providing a better way of writing. The fact that a pencil is cheap and lasts longer has benefited poor people to afford education, and it is the crucial first step for the kids learning to write. It is used to make marks to measure, and even carpenters use pencils. Many creative areas which require a rough draft or design use pencils. Although technological developments, pencils have now been replaced by drafting software, the convenience with which a pencil can be used has made it a remarkable invention.

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