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Mechanical pencil history notes that in 1913 Charles R. Keeran invented the Eversharp Pencil, the first mass-produced mechanical pencil to combine a simple propelling mechanism with large lead capacity and robust, ergonomically sound design. The Eversharp Pencil built on the history of lead pencil and came to be used synonymously with “mechanical pencil”. There is some confusion in pencil history about who actually invented the mechanical pencil. Hayakawa Tokuji invented the Ever-Ready Sharp pencil in Japan, according to the history of pencils. The Ever-Ready Sharp Pencil was first produced in the United States in 1915. In the history of pencils, Hayakawa Tokuji gets the credit for the invention of the mechanical pencil, but the Eversharp Pencil went to market first.
The “lead pencil,” containing no lead, was invented in 1564, a turning point in pencil history. Although civilizations were centuries away from making mechanical pencil history, the pencil invented in the sixteenth century advanced the writing instrument. Before 1564, artists mainly used stylus-like pencils. The history of the pencil owes a dept to the discovery of a graphite mine in Cumbria, England. Artisans sawed the graphite into sheets and cut the “black lead” into rods that were then inserted into hand-carved wooden holders. In the history of pencils, England first had a monopoly on the manufacture of pencils until France and Germany joined the trend.
Before the mid-1500s, when no one ever thought that there could be mechanical pencil history, artists mainly used pencils made of a thin rod composed of soft lead. According to the recorded history of pencils, Romans first used a tiny brush called a pencillus, or “little tail,” from which we get the word pencil. The Romans' pencillus is a first in the history of lead pencil, since the Romans used a kind of lead. Pencil history, though actually starts with the wooden stylus like the ones used to create the cuneiform script of ancient Iraq. The history of the pencil, as with all things, starts with our ancestors thousands of years ago.
We have Napoleon officer Nicholas Jacques Conte to thank for the versatile pencil and for mechanical pencil history. In 1795, a banner year in pencil history, Conte successfully produced pencils when he ground graphite, mixed it with special types of clay, pressed the mix into sticks and baked them in a kiln. This recipe is used by pencil manufacturers today. Conte's process is responsible for the history of lead pencil and the retractable pencil leads we use today. Conte's method allowed pencils to be made to any hardness or softness, which helped pencil-wielding artists and draftsmen. The history of the pencil doesn't end there. Conte's process has been refined to produce specialty pencil leads that can write on movie film, cloth, cellophane and plastics. Although the Faber family, of Faber Castell fame, popularized Conte's process, Conte is a hero in the history of pencils.
In the eighteenth century, the Faber family of Germany manufactured crude graphite sticks, hardly a success in the annals of pencil history. However, once Nicholas Jacques Conte refined the process, the Faber family jumped on the opportunity faster than you could say mechanical pencil. Mechanical pencil history was now a possibility, although no one knew it. History of lead pencil was more within people's reach, since in the eighteenth century graphite was first analyzed. Eberhard Faber built the first pencil factory in the United States in New York City in 1861. In the history of the pencil and among pencil manufacturers, the Faber family will always be renowned for manufacturing fine writing instruments, pens as well as pencils, for over two hundred years. The history of pencils has witnessed the Faber development of true specialized artist pencils.
In the history of pencils, don't forget Goodyear. Without Charles Goodyear's rubber manufacturing in 1839, removable mechanical pencil erasers would never have become mechanical pencil history. The same rubber that hits the road also hits the paper thanks to Goodyear's vulcanization of rubber. With the better rubber available, erasers became more common. In 1858 a man named Hyman Lipman developed a patent to attach erasers to pencils, another step towards mechanical pencil history. But in the history of the pencil, before Goodyear's process comes Charles Marie de la Condamine, who brought India rubber to Europe several years before Nicholas Jacques Conte's milestone in the history of lead pencil. Actually, the history of the eraser starts with lunch. In 1770 when England used bread to correct writing mistakes, English engineer Edward Naime picked up rubber instead of bread and got the idea for the first eraser. The rest is pencil history.