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May 17, 2005

(What Was Once) The World's Longest Pencil


You will find it (above) in Keswick, Cumbria, about 110 miles north of Liverpool, England.

It resides at the Cumberland Pencil Museum.

At nearly 26 feet long, weighing in at 984.05 pounds — that's nearly half a ton — it had pride of place in the Guinness Book of World Records until late November of 2002, when Faber–Castell of Selangor, Malaysia eclipsed it with a 64.79 foot monster 2.6 feet in diameter, with a lead measuring 6 inches across.

You could look it up.

The Pencil Museum didn't just happen to end up where it is: 400 years ago the locals stumbled upon a huge graphite deposit.

It looked like coal but didn't burn.

The shepherds found it useful for marking their sheep, and slivers were used for drawing.

Before long, rods of Cumberland graphite encased in blocks of wood — what we now call pencils — were prized by artists throughout Europe.


The museum's website is chock full of useful information, such as a page on how to properly sharpen a pencil.

Where else are you gonna learn things like this?

[via John Kelly and the Washington Post]

May 17, 2005 at 12:01 PM | Permalink


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