It was a Great Leap Forward, and responsible for the creation of more scholarly dissertations, more great works of art and more inspired doodles than any implement in the history of civilization, even though it is small, humble and unassuming. That’s right, Scribblers, it’s


With the stub of a pencil and bits of scrap paper, Albert Einstein changed the world.

On a train rolling to war-scarred Gettysburg, Abraham Lincoln’s pencil delivered immortality.

In the gifted hands of Leonardo DaVinci, the mighty pencil transformed art and engineering forever.

Who can forget reporting to our first day of school with the required two sharpened #2 pencils in our schoolbags, the first pointy implements with which we were trusted? A mere quarter inch in diameter and 6″ long before we start paring it down, these graphite-filled wooden tubes are the stuff that dreams are made of, the most popular and versatile implement ever invented.

About the year 1500, when somebody found out what graphite was good for, people began using lumps of the stuff for writing and drawing, blackening their hands in the process until about 1560, when someone had the brainstorm to coat it with wood. This was all well and good for 300 years, when Hymen Lipman invented the final stroke on our household masterpieces, the eraser. The yellow paint came later, the better to show off the teeth marks that prove we are not quite as civilized as our pencils.

•Suggested Activities: Spilling your brain onto a blank piece of paper.


Leave a Comment

Scroll to Top