The Write Stuff

Posted on March 14, 2023 at 10:30 AM

The pencil is a widely used writing tool today, but it has a fascinating history that dates back centuries. The first known pencil-like instrument was discovered in England in the 16th century, but it wasn't until the late 18th century that the modern pencil was invented.


In 1795, Nicholas-Jacques Conte, a French artist, created a graphite pencil by mixing powdered graphite with clay and then firing it in a kiln. This mixture produced a harder and more durable writing instrument than the previous options of a lead or a charcoal stick.

Demand for pencils grew rapidly, and by the 19th century, factories were mass-producing wooden pencils. The use of graphite also led to the creation of erasers, which were initially made of natural rubber and later synthetic materials, something we have been actively trying to reduce.

The popularity of pencils soared in the early 20th century, with companies such as Faber-Castell, Staedtler, and Dixon Ticonderoga becoming household names. Pencils were used for everything from writing and drawing to filling in standardized test bubbles.

Today, the pencil remains a ubiquitous writing tool and continues to evolve with the introduction of mechanical and digital versions and are still widely used in education and industry by students, writers, carpenters, designers, artists and architects. The history of the pencil is a testament to the human desire to create and innovate, and its lasting legacy is a testament to its usefulness and versatility.

Of course, wood is the original sustainable material when nurtured and forms the heart of our sustainable promotional pencils range, but there are many other materials being introduced such as eco plastics, wheat, pencils with seeds in them and our brand new and totally mind-blowing, infinity pencil, that is a game-changer in the eco merchandise industry!


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