About 200 years ago, a French army officer NJ Conte invented first pencil on earth. That time it was called “pencillus” meaning “little tail”, because of its pointed tip. NJ Conte first turned graphite into powder and mixed it with moist clay to make a dough out of it. Then, he rolled many thin sticks from the dough and dried them.
But the black thin sticks by itself were not convenient for writing. So the next idea was to encase it in wood.
Pencil makers like Faber Castle, these days produce thin, wooden rods from trees. They cut it into halves and carve out a thin long space where the lead is placed. After the lead is placed in that space, the two half rods are glued together. The rods are then put into shaping and polishing machine.
Pencils do not really contain lead but the black long stick is called ‘Lead’. WHY??
Because ‘Graphite’ when discovered was called ‘Blacklead’ for a long time due to its resemblance with lead.
What are Graphite and Lead?
Lead is a metal and graphite is a form of carbon. Lead is a soft, silvery metal where as graphite is a fine black powder.