Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Charcoal Freedom pencil

Graphite, schmraphite.
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I am reading a history of the pencil. It would seem that the discovery of graphite in Britain was the key event. Prior to this people could make marks with metallic lead, or scratch wax tablets, or use pen and ink. But once found, everyone wanted graphite, of course making loads of money for Britain which had the only good source. I have so far made it only to the early 1800s and things might change there forward.

But charcoal - is it so much worse than graphite? It is black, and carbon, and smeary and easy to make. I acknowledge that there exist artist tools which are charcoal in a pencil, and they are smeary and the artists like them that way. Also plain finger blackening charcoal sticks. But when one gets into the Continental graphite extending methods - mixing with sulfur (Germany) or with clay (France) I think this would take care of a lot of the smeary.

I propose a graphiteless Freedom Pencil which will obviate the need to deal with British graphite monopolists, and which will be composed of ground charcoal mixed with clay in a method analogous to the French one. Said substance will be enclosed in wood as with a standard pencil. I here assert that this will not be smeary like regular charcoal and will sidestep the dangers, disadvantages and expense of graphite.

bungston, Jan 31 2017

current art ? https://www.youtube...watch?v=zZHp1fGdAWE
pencil making [popbottle, Jan 31 2017]

[link]






       // composed of ground charcoal mixed with clay in a method analogous to the French one //   

       You mean the way the french make cigarettes ? And coffee ?   

       The french like pencils, because surrender documents are only valid if signed in ink.
8th of 7, Jan 31 2017
  

       //a history of the pencil// I think I've read it. Who's the author?   

       And it is bizarre that in the whole world, the only graphite deposit suitable for making "traditional" pencils is still the one in the UK. My understanding is that graphite from elsewhere does not come in large, solid chunks, and is therefore powdered and mixed with clay to form pencil cores.
MaxwellBuchanan, Jan 31 2017
  

       The purest graphite - suitable for use as a neutron moderator - is synthesized from petroleum coke.
8th of 7, Jan 31 2017
  

       Better than suffering the slips and annos of outrageous fountain pens ...
8th of 7, Jan 31 2017
  

       Pencil puns - what's the point?
MaxwellBuchanan, Jan 31 2017
  

       That is quite a slip if it winds up in your annos.
bungston, Jan 31 2017
  

       Where is this all going to lead to?   

       Perhaps a flammable liquid in the mix - alcohol - Aye, there's the rub.
normzone, Jan 31 2017
  

       The DeBeers diamond cartel has a lot of diamonds in storage, entirely to keep the supply low and the prices high. I therefore suggest they heat the excess diamonds in a vacuum, which will convert them into graphite. They can then sell the graphite.
Vernon, Feb 01 2017
  

       // accordion //   

       For that, you deserve no mercy whatsoever.
8th of 7, Feb 01 2017
  

       Pencil history seems to concentrate on the lead, and on the beginnings and ends. I've been having little luck funding info on the wood used in 18th century pencils, and even less in finding anyone making replicas or even plausible imitations.
pocmloc, Feb 03 2017
  
      
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