1-There is no risk of lead poisoning if you stab yourself (or someone else) with a pencil because it contains no lead-just a mixture of clay and graphite.Still pencil wound carry a risk of infection for the stabees,lawsuits for stabbers.
2-And bad juju for anyone link to Watergate:In his autobiography,G.Gordon Liddy describes finding John Dean (whom he despised for "Disloyalty") alone in a room. Spotting sharpened pencils on a desk, Liddy fleetingly considered driving one into Dean's throat.
3-The word"pencil"drives from the Latin penicillus,meaning-not so sensibly-"little fail"
4-Graphite, a crystallized form of carbon,was discovered near Keswick, England in the mid-16th Century.An 18 th Century German chemist ,A.G.Werner,named it sensibly enough from the greek graphein,"To Write"
5-Pencil marks are made when tiny graphite fleeks, often just thousandths of an inch wide,stick to the fibers that make up paper.
6-Got time to kill? The average pencil holds enough graphite to draw a line about 35 miles long or to write roughly 45,000 words.History does not record anyone testing this statistic.
7-The Greek poet Philip Of Thessaloniki wrote of leaden writing instruments in the first century B.C>,but the modern pencil , as described by Swiss naturalist Conrad Geyser,dates only to 1565.
8-French pencil boosters include Nicolas-Jacques Conte,who patented a clay- and - graphite manufacturing process in 1795;Bernard Cassimone,who patented the first pencil sharpener in 1828;and Therry des Estwaux who invented an improved mechanical sharpener in 1847.
9-French researchers also hit on the idea of using caouthouc,a vegetable gum now known as rubber,to erase pencil marks.Until then,writers removed mistakes with bread crumbs.
10-Most pencils sold in America today have eraser tips,while those sold in Europe usually have none.Are Europeans more confident scribblers?
11-Henry David Thoreau-American,but a confident scribbler all the same-used pencils to write Walden.And he probably got them free.His father owned a pencil making business near Boston,where Henry allegedly designed his own pencils before becoming a semi-recluse.
12-In 1861,Eberhard Faber built the first American mass-production pencil factory in New York City.
13-Pencils were among the basic equipment issued to union soldiers during the civil war.
14-The mechanical pencil was patented in 1822.The company founded by it's British developers prospered until 1941,when the factory was bombed,presumably by pencil-hating Nazis.
15-Je suis un crayon rouge.After the 1971 Soviet revolution American entrepreneur Armand Hammer was awarded a monopoly for pencil manufacturing in the USSR.
16-More than half of all pencils come from china.In 2004,factories there turned out 10 billion pencils,enough to circle the earth more than 40 times.
17-Pencils can write zero gravity and so were used on early American and Russian space missions-even though NASA engineers worried about the flammability of wood pencils in a pure-oxygen atmosphere, not to mention the menace of floating bits of graphite.
18-Those corncerns inspired Paul Fisher to develop the pressurized Fisher Space Pen in 1965.After the Apollo 1 fire,NASA banned pencils in favor of his pen on manned spaceflights.
19-The World's Largest pencil is a Castell 9000, on display at the manufacturer's plant near Kuala Lumpur. Made of Malaysian wood and polymer, it stands 65 feet high
20-At the other extreme,engineer at University Of California at Santa Barbara have used an atomic force microscope as a kind of pencil to draw lines 50 nanometers(two millionths of an inch)wide.Just because they could.