Interesting Facts about Pencils and Pens
The history of writing instruments, pencils, and pens is thousands of years long. We have used pens, in one form or another, since the First Dynasty of Ancient Egypt, while pencils are much younger but nothing less important. Here are some interesting facts about them.
- Around 2,500 pencils can be made from one average tree.
- Word “pencil” comes from the Old French word “pincel,” meaning “a small paintbrush.” Pincel, in turn, comes from the Latin “penicillins,” meaning a "little tail."
- Ballpoint pens were very popular among pilots in World War II because they did not leak at high altitudes.
- Biro Company sells 14 million pieces of “BIC Crystal” ballpoint pens daily worldwide. It is the best-selling ballpoint pen in the world.
- United States produces 2 billion pens in a year.
- John Steinbeck used 60 pencils a day to write his novels.
- Newspaper pencils have a casing from old newspapers, each made from one sheet.
- There is a rule in the US Navy not to use red pens for marking maps. At night, ships use red light, turning red markings on maps invisible and causing disasters.
- Longest pencil in the world has 323.51 m in length. Edward Douglas Miller made it from the United Kingdom. It holds the World’s Guinness Record for the longest pencil for now.
- Hairs of more expensive calligraphic brushes are made of hairs of tigers, fowl, deer, and even humans. Handles for these brushes are made of gold, silver,
jade, ivory, red sandalwood, or spotted bamboo.
- The oldest surviving fountain pen is from 1702. It was designed by M. Bion from France.
- Emilio Arenas from Uruguay has the world's largest collection of black pencils. He has 16,260 pencils from all over the world and holds a Guinness
- Parts of the Dead Sea Scrolls, written around 100 BC, were written with quills.
- Oldest surviving pencil dates from the 17th century. It was found on the roof of an old German house while it was renovated and given to Faber-Castell.
- Acharya Makunuri Srinivasa made the largest ballpoint pen in India. It has 5.5 m in length, and its weight is 37.23 kg. Its casing is engraved with scenes from Indian mythology.
- Pencil leads contain no lead - just graphite and clay.
- Demetra Koutsouridou from Greece has a collection of 8,514 pencil sharpeners - the world's largest collection of pencil sharpeners.
- The earliest intact ink brush was found in the tomb of a Chu citizen. It was founded in 1954 and dates from the Warring States period (475 - 221 BC).
- Name “graphite” comes from the Greek “graphene,” which means “to write.”
- In 2004, factories in China made over 10 billion pencils, enough to circle the earth more than 40 times.
- The president of the United States signs bills every time with a different pen, which is never used again for signing.
- Parker’s ballpoint pens can write a line 8 km long before they run out of ink.
- Plastic/bendable pencils are made of plasticized graphite mix for core and co-extruded wood composite core.
- The most expensive fountain pen is “Fulgor Nocturnus.” It is made by Tibaldi from Italy and is decorated with 945 black diamonds and 123 rubies. Its price is 8 million dollars.
- The most expensive pencil is a limited edition of the Graf von Faber-Castell Perfect Pencil. It is made of 240-year-old olive wood and 18-carat white gold. Its price is $12,800.
- A single graphite pencil can draw a continuous line that stretches approximately 35 miles (56 kilometers) long or write approximately 45,000 words, showing its impressive longevity as a writing instrument.