Wednesday, March 30, 2011

What's On The Calendar Wednesday: March 30th

 Photo Credit: D Sharon Pruitt (Creative Commons)

Today is ... PENCIL DAY. Or at least, the day on which the pencil with a rubber attached was patented in 1858 (or eraser, if you are in the US). Did you know that 'one pencil has the potential to draw a line 35 miles long, write an average of 45,000 words, absorb 17 sharpenings, delete its own errors and beat out an infinite number of drum solos'. No, me neither. If you are so inclined you can find out lots more about pencils at here, where is even a six lesson unit study. Here are a few facts from about the rubber / eraser on the end of your pencil:

Fact #1:
Pencil manufacturers make erasers, too, which makes sense since we tend to think that it’s a done deal - an eraser is a regular component of the everyday pencil. But that’s not always been the case….
Fact #2:
Pencils with erasers are an American phenomenon. The first patent for attaching an eraser to a pencil was issued in 1858 to Hymen Lipman of Philadelphia. Even to this day, most pencils sold in Europe are eraser-less! [Not true of the UK!]
Fact #3:
An eraser by any other name? Originally, what we now call an eraser was referred to as a "rubber" because the tree resin it was made of "rubbed out" pencil marks. In Great Britain, they still use the original term. But then they also call trucks lorries, elevators lifts and toilets loo!
Fact #4:
An eraser isn’t called eraser by eraser manufacturers, either. Their name for the little erasers on pencil ends: "plugs!"
Fact #5:
More and more of today's erasers are made from something other than rubber! While some of the "pink" erasers you find on pencils are made from synthetic rubber blended with pumice (a grit that enhances its ability to erase), an increasing number of erasers are made from vinyl. Vinyl is a type of durable, flexible plastic.

Derwent Pencils has a nice section on its website about how pencils were traditionally made, and lots of tips and projects for pencil-based artwork. Their pencils are made in Cumbria, where large graphite deposits were first discovered in the sixteenth century.

Meme invented by Pamela at When Good People Get Together.


Pamela said...

Who many interesting facts about pencils! Got to get busy on my Wednesday calendar entry - I'm so behind today.

Missus Wookie said...

Fun entry - in that "Cheaper by the Dozen" book the kids tell a story about their father getting them all to pose burying pencils - having converted them all to mechanical ones... but as soon as the photos were taken they dug 'em up as he couldn't stand the waste :)

Princess uses mechanical pencils, I prefer real - they fit behind the ear better.

Glad I'm not the only one who misses Borders. I ended up sitting in Starbucks chatting to a friend which was also good.

PixieMum said...

Husband's comment about the rubber at end of the pencil "Oh, that's what led to it".

Yes, I know its bad but we are a family who try to catch each other out with puns. Groans are us.