It’s National Pencil Day, so sharpen your pencils…

Did you know…

On this day in 1858, the United States Patent and Trademark Office granted the first-ever patent for a modern pencil with an eraser attached to it.


A single wooden pencil can write 45,000 words or draw a line that is 35 miles long.


A pencil can write underwater, upside down, or in zero gravity.


Manufacturers painted the first pencils yellow because the color was associated with royalty and honor (People quickly began assuming that yellow pencils were the best type!)



A pencil is called a ‘pencil’, because…

In Middle English the word, spelled pencel, meant “artist’s brush.” It was borrowed from Old French pincel or peincel, related to Modern French peinture “painting.” The French inherited the word from the Latin penicillus, for “little tail.” ~ Robert Linsford (


Notable pencil users (Wikipedia)

Thomas Edison had his pencils specially made by Eagle Pencil. Each pencil was three inches long, was thicker than standard pencils and had softer graphite than was normally available.

Vladimir Nabokov rewrote everything he had ever published, usually several times, by pencil.John Steinbeck was an obsessive pencil user and is said to have used as many as 60 a day. His novel East of Eden took more than 300 pencils to write.

Vincent van Gogh used only Faber pencils as they were “superior to Carpenters pencils, a capital black and most agreeable”.

Johnny Carson regularly played with pencils at his Tonight Show desk. These pencils were specially made with erasers at both ends to avoid on-set accidents.

Roald Dahl used only pencils with yellow casing to write his books. He had 6 sharpened pencils ready at the beginning of each day and only when all 6 pencils became unusable did he resharpen them.



In 2012, when I founded Sketchbound, the first sketch I drew for the group’s image was instinctively a pencil.

Here is that sketch!


Happy National Pencil day from everyone at Sketchbound!


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