Pencil was not invented in one step easy step, instead many inventors has their hands in making of a pencil which we are using today. In 1564, a huge graphite or "black carbon
" mine was discovered in Borrowdale, Cumbria, England. In the same time, an attempt was made in which graphite rods were inserted into hand-carved wooden holders. The result was a poor quality pencil that easily broke.
In 1795, the Nicholas Jacques Conte
(a French officer in Napoleon's army) , invented and patented the first quality pencil and discovered that ground graphite, when mixed with the right kinds of clay, produced the best lead for pencils. By varying the ratio of graphite to clay, the hardness of the graphite can also vary. He turned graphite into powder and then mixed it with moist doughs of clay and pressed the thing to make thin sticks. He then cooked it in a kiln. Mr. Conte was born at Saint-Ceneri-pres-Sees now (Aunou-sur-Orne) in Normandy,France on 4 August 1755. Napoleon called him “a universal man with taste, understanding and genius capable of creating the arts of France in the middle of the Arabian Desert. He also invented the conté crayon named after him, a hard pastel stick used by artists.
The name of pencil is derived from the Latin word "pencillus", which means little tail. In those times, pencillus was used to refer to fine, pointed brushes before the man who invented the pencil came up with the idea. Modern pencils come in over 350 flavors, each designed for a specific use, and may be purchased in over 72 colors.