The writing instrument we know as a lead pencil is completely misnamed, but this very innacuracy is a clue to its history.

History of Pencils

The ancient Romans painted fine outlines and wrote on papyrus(a type of paper made from reeds) with a tiny brush which they called a penicillus, or little tail.

Pencil Manufacture

Pencil 'leads' contain no lead whatever. They are made of a mixture of graphite and clay, finely ground, thoroughly mixed, and fired in ovens to produce a strong fused stick, similar to chinaware.

Pencil Sharpener

Creative Thumb Since the traditional woodcased pencil was invented a means of producing a writing point on the product has been required. Initially this was carried out by the quite basic method, still used, of a knife. Take a look