The Graphite Pencil

Contributed by Jake Ewing

The Graphite Pencil was discovered before 1565, when a deposit of graphite was discovered near Grey Knotts of Seathwaite in Cumbria, England. The locals being traditional farmers found that it was very useful for marking sheep.
This deposit of graphite was extremely pure and solid, and it could easily be sawn into sticks.

The Italian's were first to apply the wooden holders to the graphite rods. Although flat and oval shaped, their first use was carpentry.
The eraser was then added in 1858 by Hymen Lipman who patented the idea.

Creating different hardness' to pencils was discovered by Nicholas Jacques Conté. Mixing powdered graphite with clay and forming the mixture into rods that were then fired in a kiln. By varying the ratio of graphite to clay, the hardness of the graphite rod could be modified.

This object is important to me as a designer as it allows me to be creative, it's my tool for success, to get ideas from my head into the real world.

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Grey Knotts of Seathwaite


Early 1500's


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