Learn about Pencils

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.

This meant that the casing could now be metal, most commonly gold or silver, which had appeal to the increasingly affluent middle and upper classes in Britain in the 19th century. more...

You can reduce the number of items displayed by entering a keyword that must be included in the description of the item.

These items are not for sale and the descriptions, images and prices are for reference purposes only.

Vintage Cross writing set, comprising of pencil and pen

A silver Tiffany & Co pencil, comes with Tiffany & Co pouch.

A Tiffany and Co sterling silver pencil and a gold filled Propelli pencil

Antique mechanical pencils (two) as inspected, 9ct gold pencil (purple glass end and turquoise) the other gold plated

Two gold filled pencils and a pen, Mordan Everpoint, Wahl Eversharp and Parker

Hallmarked sterling silver mechanical pencil, London 1956, JM&CO

Samson Mordan and Co silver pencil holder, hallmarked London 1911

Pair of advanced pencil pine conifers, (Cupressus) potted in demi lune shaped pots,(over 20 years old) (2) 250 cm high each

Sterling silver bridge pencils engraved to the ends with a heart, diamond, spade & club, marked 'Sterling silver' & set in a red velvet lined case. Condition: good, all in working order. Length of each 8.7 cm. Weight not including lead 25g

A gold propelling pencil, foliate design and machine turned detail, carnelian seal; testing as 9ct gold. Weight 9.9g.

Antique 9ct gold (tested) propelling pencil, marked 1st December 1883, with intricate repousse decoration

Two Victorian sterling silver propelling pencils and pen, foliate and Corinthian column design and stone set. One fully marked with Sampson & Mordan marks Victorian, 40g (2)

Small Victorian mechanical gold pencil with engine turned and agate decoration

Vintage S.Mordan gold mechanical pencil engine turned decoration. 9ct yellow gold, London hall mark.

Small Victorian mechanical gold pencil with turquoise and topaz decoration

9ct gold and carnelian fob pencil holder weight approx 6.3 grams

A sterling silver pencil, Sampson Mordan, London 1900, and one other.

An antique gold propelling pencil, S. Mordan & Co. Birmingham. 15ct yellow gold. Weight 25.51 grams. Compressed length 7 cm.

Vintage 14k gold Wahl eversharp pencil engraved souvenir of the opening of the state theatre Sydney, 7.6.29, 21grams approx

9ct yellow gold propelling pencil, circa 1899, approx. 10.18 grams

Victorian fob propelling pencil with blue enamel, approx 3.5 cm (closed) including bale

Antique sterling silver mechanical pencil by Baker & sons, with design registration #565713

Sampson Mordan sterling silver writing set comprising of a lead projecting pencil and pen, both marked S. MORDAN STERLING, 14 cm long approx

A gold 'Asprey' pendant propelling pencil, 9ct gold, stamped 'Asprey' & Hallmarked London 1908. Length 64mm. Weight 20gm.

An antique slide gold pencil. 9ct yellow gold, presented as a tubular shaped case of stippled central finish, rounded polished ends with central bail fitted, concealing a telescopic function to reveal and pencil. Length not extended: 4.7 cms

A Mont Blanc mechanical pencil. Germany. The Meisterstuck Mont Blanc black pencil numbered XH1268719. Length 15 cm

A Victorian 9 carat rose gold propelling pencil, later 19th century, with maker's mark E.B. The hexagonal shaped pencil with chased foliate designs and a turban shaped finial with a stone seal; hallmarked 9C to shaft. Length 12.5 cm

9ct yellow gold Sampson Mordan pencil. Metal mechanism. Seal to top.