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Most of us decide up pencils—and lose them—with out giving them a second thought. Pencils are a bit extra attention-grabbing than you may, assume, although. Listed below are a number of not-so-frequently requested questions on everybody’s second-favorite writing implements, together with the story of a time when pencil sharpeners had been unlawful.
WHAT MAKES #2 PENCILS SO SPECIAL?
With regards to pencils, #2s are literally absolutely the center of the highway. Whereas we quantity our numerous grades of pencils within the U.S., the remainder of the world makes use of a system of numbers and letters to explain how exhausting and the way black a pencil’s lead is. An American #2 pencil (roughly) corresponds to an HB pencil on the remainder of the world’s scale. The lead is just not too darkish and never too gentle, and it is not too exhausting or too tender.
Pencils numbered increased than 2 have tougher leads and are sometimes utilized by engineers, architects, and draftsmen due to their tougher factors. The underlying logic right here is that the tougher level provides the person better management of the lead. You may discover softer leads in pencils numbered beneath 2, that are common with artists as a result of they may also help create a wider spectrum of tones than one would obtain by sticking solely to a #2 pencil.
ACK! I USED A #three PENCIL ON THE SAT! IS MY LIFE OVER?
No … however you are in all probability destined for a lifetime of exhausting labor reasonably than school. No, probably not. It is exhausting to get a straight reply on this query, however there are fairly a number of studies from individuals on-line who tousled through the use of the mistaken grade of pencil and nonetheless did simply effective on their SATs. The overall consensus appears to be that the SAT’s scanners will learn a #three pencil’s mark simply the identical as it could learn one from a #2 pencil. Some individuals do really feel, nevertheless, that the tougher lead in a #three pencil makes erasing harder and ups the probabilities stray smudge or incompletely erased mark will probably be learn by the scanner and find yourself hurting your rating. So it is in all probability finest to err on the secure aspect and double-check your pencil sort earlier than heading into the examination.
IF THE REST OF THE WORLD USES A SYSTEM OF NUMBERS AND LETTERS TO GRADE PENCILS, WHY DO WE USE JUST NUMBERS?
Thank Henry David Thoreau and his outdated man. When graphite was found in New Hampshire in the course of the 1820s, John Thoreau and his brother-in-law Charles Dunbar constructed their very own pencil manufacturing unit. The one drawback was that New Hampshire graphite was fairly crummy; it smeared and made for fairly poor pencils.
Enter a younger Henry David Thoreau. Earlier than he wrote about civil disobedience and spent his time at Walden Pond, he labored on the household pencil firm. Thoreau perfected a means of utilizing clay as a binder to make the tender, free graphite exhausting and appropriate for pencils. Instantly the New England graphite could possibly be used to make a pencil that did not go away big smears, and the Thoreaus’ enterprise took off. By the center of the 19th century, the Thoreaus had been promoting pencils with various graphite hardness, which they numbered one by 4.
IF THE CENTER OF THE PENCIL HAS BEEN MADE OF GRAPHITE FOR SO LONG, WHY DO WE CALL IT “LEAD”?
Blame shoddy 16th century chemistry for this one. When a large graphite deposit was present in England in the course of the 16th century, it will definitely discovered a use as a writing implement. Nevertheless, early chemists weren’t precisely certain what the helpful grey substance truly was. They assumed it was some form of lead, and the time period “pencil lead” got here into use—although there wasn’t any lead concerned.
WHY ARE PENCILS PAINTED YELLOW?
In accordance with most tales, our pencils are yellow on account of a intelligent advertising and marketing gimmick. In 1889, the Hardtmuth firm of Austria launched a brand new line of fancy pencils on the World’s Honest in Paris. The pencils had been named Koh-i-Noor after a famed Indian diamond, they usually contained the world’s best graphite from the Far East. They had been additionally painted yellow, which was uncommon on the time.
Some historians declare that the Austrian firm painted their pencils yellow as a refined nod to the yellow on the flag of Austria-Hungary. Others declare the yellow was a fair subtler nod to the Far Jap graphite within the pencils; the colour yellow is related to royalty in China. In both case, the brand new yellow pencils had been a success, and shortly different firms started portray their very own wares yellow in an try to swipe a few of Hardtmuth’s enterprise.
DOES THE LITTLE METAL BAND THAT HOLDS THE ERASER ON THE PENCIL HAVE A NAME?
It certain does. It is referred to as a ferrule, a mixture of the Latin phrases viriola (“small bracelet”) and ferrum (“iron”).
HAVE PENCIL ERASERS GIVEN US ANY COMMON WORDS?
You wager. In accordance with data from the 18th century, the elastic substance from tropical vegetation bought its identify due to its frequent use of being rubbed over pencil marks to erase them. Since utilizing this substance as an eraser required quite a lot of rubbing, individuals started calling it rubber. One other identify for rubber from the identical period that did not catch on fairly as nicely was lead-eater.
WHEN WAS IT ILLEGAL TO OWN A PENCIL SHARPENER?
Should you owned a pencil sharpener in early 20th century England, you had a scorching little piece of contraband. On the time, the provision of the purple cedar that had traditionally been utilized in pencils was getting perilously low, so the federal government briefly outlawed pencil sharpeners with a purpose to restrict waste from overzealous sharpening. Finally the mechanical pencil and the invention of incense-cedar’s usefulness in making pencils solved this drawback, and pencil sharpeners turned avenue authorized as soon as once more. Phew!
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