the pencil

Mark Wieder mwieder at
Tue Jul 3 12:03:38 EDT 2007


>Well, the fact that there is some anniversary for
>pencils made in The United States of America (that is
>what I take Mark Weider to mean; as most citizens of
>the USA forget about the other American countries in
>their rush to take over the world) is nothing special:

Finding myself hoist on my own petard (I'm usually the one taking people to 
task for that error of chauvanistic syntax) I shall attempt to redeem myself 
by claiming that the machine invented in 1812 was no doubt the first 
pencil-making machine in the Americas as a whole; and that brought about 
only because the US could no longer import its pencils from England, seeing 
as how we were at war and all.

>I have to confess that pencils seem to have been
>invented in England:

This is indeed true (1560 is the date I've heard, but I suppose nobody 
really can pin it down that closely).

There's a wonderful book by Henry Petroski called (of all things) "The 
Pencil", which should be required reading for anyone interested in the 
history of engineering.

 Mark Wieder
 mwieder at

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