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the age old mystery of pencil manufacturing, revealed!
October 23, 2003 9:53 AM   Subscribe


 
Yes. And this reminds me of some of the "field trips" they would take on Mr. Rogers or Reading Rainbow. This post would probably benefit from a few more links though.
posted by untuckedshirts at 10:00 AM on October 23, 2003


I already knew how. I also know, to quote Woody Allen, that the lead in a lead pencil is not lead. It's neon that isn't turned on.
posted by LeLiLo at 10:02 AM on October 23, 2003


cool link. if you want to know how erasers are made though, watch eraserhead.
posted by alicila at 10:04 AM on October 23, 2003


this reminds me of some of the "field trips" they would take

I always liked those segments on Sesame Street; how they made crayons, bubble gum, etc. There's a similar show on the Discovery Channel these days called "How It's Made" which I enjoy when I manage to catch it.
posted by debralee at 10:13 AM on October 23, 2003


heh. cool link.
posted by matteo at 10:18 AM on October 23, 2003


I did a report on this in the third grade. I did a much better job.
posted by agregoli at 10:19 AM on October 23, 2003


This is soooooooo cool!
posted by Bag Man at 10:20 AM on October 23, 2003


AndI had always wondered how they slipped the graphite into the pencil without breaking it! Question: do you know which American, famous as a writer, was the first to use #2 to designiate the number two pencil that he manufactured, after taking lver his dad's business? And can you tell why for years pencils were always yellow, no matter who made them? Much still to be learned, right?
posted by Postroad at 11:01 AM on October 23, 2003


If this isn't a page that needs a reference to "I, Pencil" then I don't know what is.

http://www.econlib.org/library/Essays/rdPncl1.html is one location where it can be found. link
posted by devbrain at 11:11 AM on October 23, 2003


Here are six "How People Make" videos from Mr. Rogers Neighborhood. The closest to the pencils they've posted is How People Make Crayons.
Thanks Picture, Picture!
posted by putzface_dickman at 11:21 AM on October 23, 2003


I have wondered, and this is all very interesting.
posted by Songdog at 12:15 PM on October 23, 2003


I can't remember the last time I touched an actual pencil, but I do remember them from school years. Anyway, this explains how the nice cedar pencils are made, but what about those weird, slightly-flexible and cheap-feeling pencils that seemed to be made of some kind of recycled plastic & sawdust slurry?
posted by Tubes at 12:22 PM on October 23, 2003


submitted mostly for the drool factor: vintage pencils (though the "sheathes" and "extenders" under Victorian pencils do show how valued the wooden pencils were...)
posted by taz at 12:34 PM on October 23, 2003


what about those weird, slightly-flexible and cheap-feeling pencils that seemed to be made of some kind of recycled plastic & sawdust slurry?

Oh, those? They're made of some kind of recycled plastic & sawdust slurry.
posted by jpoulos at 12:35 PM on October 23, 2003


And on a similar note: How they get the cream inside a Twinkie.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 1:20 PM on October 23, 2003


A Drawing Glossary (Harvard Art Museums).
Drawing Materials and Drawing Techniques (NYU).
The Media of Drawing (nextmonet.com).
posted by Zurishaddai at 5:07 PM on October 23, 2003


I'm a big fan of the pencil. Meetings, notes, doodles - my trusty Dixon-Ticonderoga #2 is on the scene. Ball point pens, feh.
posted by pejamo at 5:12 PM on October 23, 2003


devbrain: I get chills every time I read it.
posted by trharlan at 5:28 PM on October 23, 2003


I have wondered this, but not for very long.
posted by troutfishing at 9:54 PM on October 23, 2003


Question: do you know which American, famous as a writer, was the first to use #2 to designiate the number two pencil that he manufactured, after taking lver his dad's business? And can you tell why for years pencils were always yellow, no matter who made them?

Nobody seems to have taken you up on this, Postroad. Of course, it was Henry David Thoreau (not to be confused with his wine-making brother, Mogen David). You're old enough to have known him personally, right?

As for the yellow part, it must have something to do with homework done at the last minute on school buses.
posted by LeLiLo at 11:45 PM on October 23, 2003


Why pencils are yellow: general, and specific.

And those bendy pencils? Polywood, or recycled lunch trays and sawdust. It's the next generation lumber!
posted by dhartung at 11:54 PM on October 23, 2003


By the way, in addition to asking how pencils are made, we could ask "what is made from the remainder of pencil-making?" and we would find Dura-logs! Though these days, artificial logs might be just as likely to be made of coffee grounds. Both links found via girlhacker.
posted by taz at 5:26 AM on October 24, 2003


dhartung: What do you mean, general and specific? Those are two completely different explanations! Are they yellow for China (uh, because yellow is... an imperial color! yeah, that's the ticket! Calling Stan Chin...) or "in honor of the Austro-Hungarian flag"? MetaFilter expects you to get to the bottom of this!
posted by languagehat at 6:53 AM on October 24, 2003


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