Long-lasting, humble and always ready for writing: the pencil. Its invention stemmed from the discovery of a graphite deposit in England in around 1550. However, the locals at the time thought that they had discovered “lead ore”. As the raw material left a mark on surfaces and was relatively well lubricated, it was clamped between two wooden rods to create the world’s first pencil. Indeed, it was thought that the pencil contained lead right up until the 18th century, when the chemist Karl Wilhelm Scheele proved that the supposed “lead ore” was in fact a different material all together: graphite. So remember: pencils are filled with graphite and not lead!
Graphite is used in both traditional wooden pencils and in modern refillable propelling pencils. The “hardness” of the pencil is dependent on the ratio in which graphite and clay are mixed together.