Pencil Day. Is there a point to it? *chortle*
Taking place on Sunday 30th March, this is an occasion that pays tribute to the humble, everyday, functional item that allows us to scrape graphite particles across paper in any shape we wish. The pencil is something that each of us will use countless times over a lifetime, from scrawling imaginative scenarios filled with robots, fairies and dinosaurs on every available surface as children, to picking one up and wondering what it is as we lose our marbles and become confused by stationery in our latter years.
I wanted to take this opportunity to share some facts about the pencil, but unfortunately I don’t know any. The only trivia I know is personal to me, such as I used to own one made out of a relatively thick twig that was the envy of my fellow classmates, and these days I have a beard just thick enough to carry a pencil around in it if I choose to do so.
Thankfully there’s a website called CultPens.com that shares pencil facts that can be enjoyed by all:
- The pencil was invented in 1594 England, when a large graphite deposit was found in Borrowdale, Cumbria.
- The term ‘lead pencil’ was coined incorrectly because of the way graphite looked and acted like lead.
- The oldest surviving pencil dates from the 17th century.
- The word pencil comes from the Latin Penicillus, which translates as ‘little tail’.
- Thomas Edison had his pencils specially made thicker than the standard versions available.
- The average pencil can write up to 45,000 words.
- The largest pencil in the world reaches 76ft and was created by Ashrita Furman. The second largest belongs to Faber-Castell and is located in Malaysia.
- The longest pencil in the world belongs to Staedtler and measures 225.2 metres long.
- Around one million pencils are used annually on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.
- There are around 14 billion pencils manufactured worldwide every year.
- The section of exposed shaved wood just above a pencil’s writing point is called the collar.
- The smallest pencil in the world was made by Faber-Castell and is only 17.5mm in length.
Today is also Mother’s Day in the UK, but I refrained from buying mine a new pencil. I did that last year.