Everyone loves a list….

In our last blog we told you we’d be rolling out some interesting lists for you.  I’m a compulsive list maker, and equally, like to cast my eye over an interesting list or two!  Learning new facts is always interesting, even if you hate to admit it – we all like to be the one to pull out an amazing fact and impress our peers!

So, as promised, we’ll kick off with this one:-

Six interesting facts about pencils

  1. The “lead” of the pencils, is actually graphite. This graphite was discovered in a large and very pure quantity near Cumbria, England, sometime in the early-mid 1500s. It was discovered to be very useful for marking sheep. So, the first ever “pencil” was that used for marking sheep.Also, graphite blocks could be easily cut into sticks. These sticks were then wrapped in sheepskin or string, for stability. So, the first “pencils” weren’t wrapped in wood cases, as we know them now. These wood cases were first thought of by the Italians, several years later. But the actual wooden pencils were produced in the mid seventeenth century, in Germany. The graphite was enclosed between two pieces of wood.
  2. The average pencil (about 18 centimetres long) can draw a line 35 miles long, or write about 45,000 words. Talk about being economical!
  3. More than 2 billion pencils are used in the United States every year. The global number? More than 14 billion, enough to easily circle the globe about 60 times. Also, more than a million pencils are used annually on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. That’s a lot.
  4. An average sized tree can make about 170,000 pencils. So, it’s safe to assume that if there are 14 billion (14 000 000 000) pencils made each year world wide then, and one tree can produce about 170,000 pencils, there are approximately 82 000 trees cut each year, to meet the annual demand of about 14 billion pencils. That’s a LOT of trees!
  5. Pencils are often associated with great names in the literary world. Henry David Thoreau used pencils to write Walden. John Steinbeck, an American writer used over 300 pencils to write his novel East of Eden.
  6. Most pencils, as we know them today, are capped with an eraser at the top. But until about 160 years ago, pencils did not have erasers attached to their tops. One popular theory about the reason for this is that teachers felt that erasers would encourage students to make mistakes. After all, if you’ve made a mistake, you can easily rub it out.
    Also, most European pencils do not have erasers attached to their tops, while American ones do.

If this has tickled your interest, then our next blog will be some odd, peculiar, interesting and unusual facts on wood and trees.  Here’s a taster of what’s to come:-

  1. In the year 2005 with the help of NASA satellite imagery it was estimated that there were approximately 400 billion 246 million trees in the world or on earth. That would be approximately 61 per person.
  2. The world’s tallest living standing tree, a softwood Coast Redwood {sequoia sempervirens} named Hyperion, is in RedwoodNational Park located in California. Last measured in October 2006, it was approximately 379 foot 1 1/2 inches {almost 38 stories} tall or almost 8 stories higher than the Statue of Liberty.

If that has left you desperate for more facts then make sure you read our blog next week, when we will continue on this topic.

If, in the meantime, you need to physically get your hands on some timber, whether for a DIY project or as part of your work, then do contact us at Forestrall Timber and Fencing Merchants.

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