Published On: 11-13-2011 03:02pm
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Category: General Topics
Many of us crafters use pencils for sketches, ideas, for drawing lines before making them permanent, etc. How many of us have asked the question posed in this heading? Before that question is answered, let’s get a little history on this writing instrument. It starts with a chance discovery in rural England.
In the 16 century, a strange black substance was found in a valley in the Lake District of northern England. It looked like coal but didn’t burn like coal and it left a shiny, black, easily erased mark on a writing surface. The discovery was called black lead. Soon this black lead was mined and exported for usage by artists.
However, in 1719, a Swedish chemist made the surprising discovery that black lead was not lead at all but a soft form of pure carbon! It was later named graphite, from the Greek word meaning “to write.”
So you cannot get lead poisoning from chewing on your pencil because, contrary to its name, the lead pencil actually contains no lead at all!