“What’s That Stuff?”

From Chemical and Engineering News, “The newsmagazine of the chemical world online.” Steve Ritter recalls:

Most adults probably realize that there isn’t any elemental lead in a pencil. But I worried about that when I was a kid after I had the point of a freshly sharpened No. 2 lodged in the palm of my right hand. It’s still there, 30 years later.

I actually have a graphite bit under my watch that’s been there since 1991, when I was in the seventh grade. But that’s a story (and photo) for another post.

Personal anecdotes aside, there’s some great information in there about pencils and graphite, including some things that not everyone knows about our humble wooden warrior.

[Photo copyright Doug Martin.]

4 thoughts on ““What’s That Stuff?””

  1. wow, great site! i never really gave my love for pencils a thought until now; they make the best out of my handwriting. being left-handed, writing with a pencil means to me i dont have to deal with ink being spoiled everywhere, but the part of my hand that lies on the paper does turn grey. a little sacrifice.
    anyway, reading this small topic of lead-in-hand took all of these little elements together: i remember vividly how upon sticking my hand into my school bag, the tip of a pencil that i had just sharpened went into my left hand. i spent the whole evening to try and get it out, but it didnt work. now i am happy it is still there; it feels like a tattoo, something that will stay with me forever and remind me of my duty to be faithful to this wonderful writing instrument!

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