Friday, August 29, 2014

HandmadeMN Fun Friday Finds ~ No. 2 Pencil

by Mollie

In their early years, pencils were created from high quality graphite sticks which were wrapped in string or put into wooden tubes. Later, pencils were made by gluing these graphite sticks in between two pieces of wood.
"Pencil" by per from Norway - Flickr. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons

Then, in 1794 Nicolas-Jacques Conte developed the process of manufacturing pencil leads in which powdered graphite was mixed with finely ground clay; this mix was shaped into a cylinder form and then baked to create a pencil. The more clay that was included in the mix made the pencil "lead" harder. This became known as the "Conte Process" and he later patented this process.

{photo courtesy of Matters of Taste blog}
Pencils were first manufactured in the U.S. around 1812.
Mass production began following the Civil War when additional patents for the machines invented to make pencils were granted.

Today, pencils come in all shapes, sizes, colors and hardness. But I still have a great fondness for the good ol' standby. So with the spirit of the new school year comes my love of the freshly-sharpened No. 2 pencil.  Thus, today's treasury. I hope you are taken back to some fond school memories as you do a little shopping.
{Click on the image above to be taken to the treasury and shops featured.}

Handwriting, math problems, filling in the little squares on multiple choice tests...
What does a No. 2 pencil remind you of? What's your favorite thing about pencils? Do share!