Around 1565 (some sources say as early as 1500), an enormous deposit of graphite was discovered in Borrowdale Parish, Cumbria England. The locals found that it was very useful for marking sheep. This particular deposit of graphite was extremely pure and solid, and it could easily be sawn into sticks. This remains the only large scale deposit of graphite ever found in this solid form. Chemistry was in its infancy and the substance was thought to be a form of lead. Consequently, it was called plumbago (Latin for "lead ore").The black core of pencils is still referred to as lead, even though it never contained the element lead. The words for pencil in German (Bleistift) and in Irish (Peann Luaidhe) both literally mean lead pen.
Because graphite is soft, it requires some form of encasement. Graphite sticks were initially wrapped in string or sheepskin for stability. The news of the usefulness of these early pencils spread far and wide, attracting the attention of artists all over the known world.
The first attempt to manufacture graphite sticks from powdered graphite was in Nuremberg, Germany, in 1662. It used a mixture of graphite, sulphur, and antimony. Residual graphite from a pencil stick is not poisonous, and graphite is harmless if consumed.
An Italian couple named Simonio and Lyndiana Bernacotti made what are likely the first blueprints for the modern, wood-encased carpentry pencil. Their version was a flat, oval, more compact type of pencil. Their concept involved the hollowing out of a stick of juniper wood. Shortly thereafter, a superior technique was discovered: two wooden halves were carved, a graphite stick inserted, and the halves then glued together—essentially the same method in use to this day.
isphotography creates little poems for the eyes. In this shop you will find travel photography, including Paris, Italy and New York...and that's not all! There is a beautiful collection of nature and landscape photography, vintage-inspired polaroid and fine art prints, and photo jewelry.
Here are some other great finds from isphotography:
ANNIVERSARY SALE!! ENTIRE SHOP - 15% OFF - USE COUPON CODE: OTC15
August will make our 1 year anniversary on Etsy and as a special thank you to all our customers; we are offering a 15% discount on everything in our shop for the entire month of August! Simply use our coupon code: OTC15 when you check out. Stock up now for Christmas!
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