Grateful American® Foundation

What commonplace American invention was first manufactured today?

April 2nd

pencil_history_centered_oldest_known_wood_cased_pencilApril 2, 1827  Although the use of pencils dates back to ancient Rome when a stylus (a thin metal rod) was used — today marks the start of day when inventor Joseph Dixon first began manufacturing lead pencils.

Although the name of invention suggests that the product is made of lead, pencils are actually made of the nontoxic mineral graphite.

In 1859 he patented graphite crucibles, and established a factory in Salem, Massachusetts for mass manufacturing.

When he died, the Joseph Dixon Crucible Company was the largest manufacturer of graphite products in the world.

The first pencil factory in the United States was started earlier by William Monroe of Concord, Massachusetts, in June 1812. His first 30 pencils were bought by Benjamin Adams, a hardware dealer in Boston, Massachusetts.

The first pencils made in Great Britain (1584) used graphite from Borrowdale, Cumberland.

Words of Wisdom

What can a pencil do for all of us? Amazing things. It can write transcendent poetry, uplifting music, or life-changing equations; it can sketch the future, give life to untold beauty, and communicate the full-force of our love and aspirations.

— Adam Braun, American businessman, bestselling author, and philanthropist. He is the Founder of Pencils of Promise, a non-profit organization that builds schools and increases access to education for children in the developing world.

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