Dani's Niche

Family history. A novel idea.

Pencil’s special day

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Did you know a single pencil can write up to 45,000 words?

I like using pencils and always have several at hand. Curiosity prompted me to learn more about this wonderful writing tool. To my amazement, a computer search revealed that March 30th is National Pencil Day. I hope this month’s post in celebration of pencil’s special day will encourage your own research about the history and manufacture of pencils.

One pencil can draw a line that measures up to 45 miles.

The most popular wood for pencils is red cedar. 

The #2 pencil became standard in U.S. schools in 1820.

Many literary masterpieces were written in pencil.

This writing tool may have originated in the 16th century when the world discovered graphite, from the Greek word “graphein” which means “to write”. 

The “modern pencil” was graphite encased inside a tube of wood with an attached rubber eraser. National Pencil Day, observed since the 1970’s, commemorates the day in 1858 when Hymen Lipman received a patent for it.

Like other children, I began my writing journey with a chunky #2 yellow stick which helped develop my motor skills and creativity.

The computer is efficient for writing projects, but there is something special when I hold the slim stick of wood and press the graphite tip to paper. Ideas for a story seem to flow more freely than when I’m staring at a screen.

Unlike etchings in stone, penciled writing is not permanent. Sadly, the diaries my grandfather wrote in the 1800’s are difficult to read and must be handled with care as are old letters. 

Still, I take heart because I often need the chance to start over. The pencil lets me write and erase until I am satisfied. And, there’s nothing like doodling with that wonderful writing and drawing tool.

What about you? Do you like to use pencils?

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