Graphite was discovered and came into widespread use for writing following the discovery of a large deposit in Borrowdale, England in 1564. It made a darker line than lead, but was soft and brittle, and required a holder.
The graphite sticks were firstly wrapped in string, but later the graphite was inserted into hollowed wooden sticks the resultant pencil being similar to those in use today.
Britain soon lost its monopoly on production of wooden pencils and they were mass-produced in Germany from the 15th century. In the mid 16th century a number of German pencil manucturers were established whose trade names are still in use today, including Faber-Castell, Steadtler and Lyra.
In 1822, Sampson Mordan (1770 - 1843) with his partner, John Hawkins patented a "metal pencil with an internal mechanism for propelling the graphite 'lead' shaft forward during use", now known as the propelling pencil.
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