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When Faber-Castell introduced the triangular pencil, it changed the face of writing across the world.

In India, at least, pencils are the center of the universe in schools. Young children are always looking to possess the latest style, colour, or type of pencil available. When Faber-Castell introduced the triangular pencil, it changed the face of writing across the world.

But how did the pencil even come to be?

The idea for the pencil came from the Roman stylus, an instrument used to write on ancient manuscripts. It was a thin metal rod that had a brush. But pencils have a graphite core that leaves an impermanent mark on paper.

Graphite cores in the pencil are often mistaken for lead, but they are a non-toxic substance that became famous because of the large deposit of graphite that was discovered in England. While using these cores in pencils was a good idea, it was too brittle to handle. The cores were tied with strings, and were later used in hollowed-out wooden cases. Graphite became the preferred substance to write with because it left no dust.

Pencils with a rubber attachment Soon, they began to appear with a rubber attachment, and in various colours Image credit: Photo by David Pennington on Unsplash

As more and more people got access to education, they began to improvise on the pencil based on the available technology and resources. Liquid pens, pen-pencils, pencils shaped to suit the hand posture, and so on were developed. Soon, they began to appear with a rubber attachment, and in various colours. Some American statesmen began to campaign with pencils because logos could easily be engraved on them.

The history of the pencil is not as exciting as most. It is something that developed simply from the excess of a new discovery, and was channelized according to the needs of an educated community. It is one of those inventions that was not preceded by desperate need for change, but a symbol of privilege. Even today, using pens are considered far more imperative than pencils. For those who value the discipline of using this humble instrument, it goes a long way in shaping their future.

Keywords: History of pencil, Graphite pencil, Instrument, Writing skills, technology and resources, ancient manuscripts.



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