Pencils have been used for writing and drawing since their invention in ancient times. They were often made from lead, but this has since been replaced with a more suitable material due to the dangers of lead. Unlike a pen that uses ink, a pencil contains a material that adheres to paper. This means that they must be sharpened during regular use to maintain a sharp point for writing or drawing. One of the main benefits of using a pencil is that the markings can easily be erased. If you have ever wondered how a pencil is made, keep reading to find out.
How are pencils made?
Basically, a pencil is a thin cylinder of wood that surrounds the all important core. Today, the core of most pencils is made from a mixture of graphite and clay. This is made by mixing finely ground graphite with clay powder. Water is then added to the mixture and it is formed into strings to be fired in a kiln. Once this is complete the strings are dipped in wax or oil to improve the smoothness of the writing/drawing.
The outside of the pencil is created in two halves. Grooves are cut into the wood and the graphite-clay strings are inserted into the grooves. An identical piece of wood in then glued on top of the first piece. This is then cut by a machine into individual pencils, which are then painted or varnished to create a good looking finish. In some cases an eraser topper is added to one end on the pencil.
You can watch the pencil making process in the following video: