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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.