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Graphite pencils

Graphite pencils

According to legend, in the early 1500s a tree was blown over in a storm in the Borrowdale region of Cumberland exposing a soft, black rock which was mistaken for lead. This is where the misleading term “lead pencil” comes from; lead has never been used in pencil production. Local shepherds started using the rock, graphite, to mark their sheep and other uses were developed including a cottage industry making pencils. The UK’s first pencil factory was established in the region in 1832, becoming the Cumberland Pencil Company in 1916, which is still in existence. Today the company is known Derwent and along with producing pencils and many other products, it welcomes thousands of visitors to its famous pencil museum every year.