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Note: Much of the factual information regarding the general history of pencils in these essays is from The Pencil: A History of Design and Circumstance, by Henry Petroski. Factual information regarding the history of drafting and drawing reproduction is primarily from various editions of Thomas French’s Engineering Drawing textbooks and from catalogs published by various drafting equipment suppliers. Everything else is personally researched by me from first sources such as manufacturer catalogs, patent documents, and discussions with people who were involved in making the history themselves.

Contents


• History of Drafting Leadholders

  revised:
  Drafting Leadholder Origins   2006 March 22
  Leadholder Evolution   2006 March 22
  Additional Leadholder Developments 2003 November 21
History of Lead Degree Indication on Leadholders 2003 November 21

History of Lead Pointers

2003 November 21

History of Thin Lead Drafting Leadholders

History of Mechanical Pencils (in progress)  
The Development of Polymer Lead (in progress)  

Additional Resources

2003 November 21



Drafting Leadholder Origins


The concept for a lead holder probably dates to ancient times, but the “lead,” as we know it—that is, graphite—would not become widely known and used until the sixteenth century.

The forerunner of leadholders is the porte-crayon. The porte-crayon’s function is to protect an artist’s hands from messy drawing materials. The essential design consists of a pair of “jaws” between which a hunk of messy stuff (charcoal, chalk, etc.) is pinched in conjunction with a sliding tension ring which draws the jaws together and holds them via friction. (See below.) The material out of which such a device is constructed could be one of any number of things. The fully developed porte-crayon as it came to be used in seventeenth century Europe was made of metal and such tools are still used by artists today.

Porte-Crayon
Porte-crayons were the forerunners of leadholders. They are still used today by artists to hold charcoal, crayons, pastels, and graphite. (This example is from the mid-19th century.)


Der GesnerThe oldest known graphite pencil was in fact a leadholder. It was described in print by the Swiss naturalist Conrad Gesner in 1567. It was a device fabricated to avoid the blackening of the fingers that accompanies handling graphite by inserting a small rod of the substance in the end of what was essentially a hollow stick.1 Such a device, though far from the precision mechanical instruments of the 19th and 20th centuries, would have been used as a relatively permanent handle in which the consumable graphite was placed and replaced.


Der Gesner
Above right: Conrad Gesner’s illustration of his pencil from 1567.

Immediately above: A recently manufactured interpretation of Gesner’s pencil. For more information on this reproduction see the “Der Gesner” gallery page.

Graphite as originally discovered in Cumbria, England, is a solid mass that had to be sawn into thin enough pieces to be useful for drawing or writing. The resultant sticks of graphite were brittle and someone somewhere (there seems to be a continuing debate about exactly who, when, and where) had the brilliant idea to encase the graphite permanently in wood. Thus the pencil as we know it was developed. It kept the hands of the user clean, and even more importantly, it protected the expensive virgin graphite rods from breakage.

As the reliable wood encased pencil was perfected through the 17th and 18th centuries, these became the instrument of choice for draftsmen. The advantage of shoring up the lead against breakage by encasing it firmly in wood made these pencils excellent for drawing and was a much more efficient use of the relatively rare and expensive graphite than using sticks of the stuff thick enough to support themselves, as was necessary for refillable pencils.

Porte-Crayon
An ivory refillable graphite pencil circa 1675. The mechanics of this pencil are not at all clear to me and although this illustration has been widely used in pencil history writings, I’ve yet to find a description of the mechanism.

Despite the success of the wood cased pencil, leadholders, it seems, never fully disappeared. Examples of these proto-“mechanical pencils” appear in an unbroken series of evolving designs from the description of Gesner’s pencil in 1567 to the multi-adjustable precision instruments of today.

Porte-Crayon
A leadholder with a tapering threaded collet circa 1750.

In 1794, Nicolas-Jacques Conté developed a method of manufacturing pencil leads from low quality graphite that was previously unusable. In this new process, the graphite was ground and mixed with clay powder. To this mixture was added enough water to make it a pliable “dough,” the dough was then formed into sticks, dried, and fired in a kiln at high temperature to create ceramic/graphite composite leads. This was an important step in the evolution of drafting pencils and is still the way most pencil leads are made. Once perfected, the new process allowed the development of stronger leads than could previously be obtained and for the first time leads with a consistent variety of hardnesses could be made which aided the draftsman in creating lines of varying thickness and density necessary for the readability of his drawings.

unknown leadholder
Leadholder with a tapering threaded collet circa early nineteenth century.

With the precise control over the shape and hardness of pencil leads that the Conté process gave the manufacturer of pencils, by the early 1800s it became possible to make leads thinner and more uniform than was previously practical. It was a small step then for the development of refillable pencils that could adapt to uses for which the wood cased pencil was not well suited. The most popular use of “naked” leads was for pencils which could be conveniently and cleanly carried in the pocket with no need for sharpening. Such a pencil was first patented by Sampson Mordan et al. of England in 1822. His pencil was quite sophisticated, employing a propelling mechanism and using a surprisingly thin ~1 mm lead. This new style of pencil would be developed in an astonishing variety of sizes and materials and are collected today as “Victorian Pencils.”

The first leadholder that was perfectly suited for drafting was introduced by A.W. Faber of Germany circa 1860. A French A.W. Faber catalog from 1862 features the pencil with this translated description: “New Artists’ Pencils with Refillable Lead for Design, Architecture, and Office,” establishing that from the begining, this pencil was marketed to Architectural draftsmen. It differed from existing mechanical pencils in several ways: It was long, not pocket sized; the wooden barrel was hollow throughout its length to accept a correspondingly long lead; and it was styled and stamped like Faber’s wood encased drawing pencils. Despite A.W. Faber’s 1861 patent laying claim to the twist locking clutch mechanism, this type of clutch was not new. Such twist lock mechanisms were common in early mechanical pencils. The main departure for this pencil was the length and quality of the lead developed for use in it.

A.W. Faber Artist's Pencil
A.W. Faber “Artists’ Pencil,” circa 1860: This is the first leadholder with all the features required to make an excellent drafting pencil.

A.W. Faber introduced with this pencil what has become the standard size lead for leadholders: 5 inches long and 2 mm in diameter. Unlike today’s leads, however, all degrees were not identical in diameter. Leads of degrees B, HB, F, H, 2H through 6H were 2 mm, leads of 2B through 5B were slightly larger, and the 6B leads were larger still. Each degree of lead had a uniquely marked leadholder. (The degree indication “HHHHHH” can be seen in the example above near the end of the barrel.)

The drafting leadholder was originally conceived as a variation of the disposable wooden drafting pencil. The Koh-I-Noor wood barreled leadholder and wood cased pencil pictured below are both of 1950s vintage. Note the model numbers: 1500 for the wooden pencil and 1511 for the leadholder. The 1511 leadholder shared the model number sequence, color and markings including lead degree indication, and even came packaged in boxes similar to those of the disposable pencil.

Koh-I-Noor 1500 Wood-Cased Pencil

Koh-I-Noor 1511 Leadholder
L & C Hardtmuth’s famous yellow Koh-I-Noor drafting pencils. The leadholder was conceived of as an evolution of the wood cased drafting pencil.

The “refillable pencil,” as early leadholders were often called, was just that: the wooden case of the traditional drafting pencil with a replaceable, loose lead. Such pencils were fitted with a clutch to permit the adjustment of the lead without cutting away the wood. This conception is distinct from that of other mechanical pencils in a number of ways. First, the adjustable lead of the leadholder was never intended as a replacement for sharpening.

Drafting Pencil Sharpening Steps The sharpening process for drafting pencils consisted of two distinct operations: cutting back the wood case to expose the lead, and the shaping of a fine point on the lead. (See T. French's discussion of drafting pencils.) The shaving of the wood was done less frequently than the pointing. It was critical for the draftsman to keep a consistent point on his instrument and so he would maintain the point constantly. The wood was shaved significantly farther back than was necessary to create the initial point so that the draftsman could re-point the lead numerous times before the wood needed to be cut away again. This two step operation is what generates the characteristic stepped taper of the draftsman's pencil point.
The two steps to sharpening a drafting pencil.



Another distinction between early mechanical pencils and leadholders was esthetics. One huge drive in the development of mechanical pencils in the nineteenth century was fashion. Let’s face it, many pencils then, as well as now, were mere jewelry. The draftsman's leadholder was and is a firm statement of utility.



Leadholder Evolution



The development of the draftsman’s leadholder as it came to be typified in the first half of the 20th century was driven by two forces: shortcomings in the wood encased graphite pencil as it was applied to drafting, and the development of improved reproduction technology that eliminated the necessity of redrawing in ink. By 1900, the procedure for creating technical drawings had become standardized: A drawing was laid out, developed, and finalized in pencil, it was then retraced on an overlying transparent sheet in black ink. The inked sheets were, of course, of a more permanent nature than the graphite drawings and the opacity of the dark ink was well suited to the reproduction of the drawings onto photosensitive blueprint paper.

Improvements in photosensitive papers and developing technology through the first half of the twentieth century made it possible to skip the ink retracing step and print directly from the graphite drawings. This did not become the standard practice until the years of World War II, and never became standard practice in some offices.

For many draftsmen, the replacement of the ruling pen with the leadholder as the primary instrument for final drawing called for a new kind of pencil. It just wouldn’t do to be making final legal documents with the sorry stub of a wood cased pencil, the precision engineered life-long-lasting quality previously reserved for compasses and ruling pens, was needed in a pencil.

Needed, yes, but not soon delivered. Despite the primary position in the draftsman’s arsenal occupied by the pencil, the toolmakers would continue to refuse the dirty stick admission into the plush velvet interiors of their cases almost until they died of obsolescence. In the 1950s toolmakers began including “Giant Bow” compasses in drafting kits specifically for pencil drawing. The older style friction-head compasses designed primarily for ink could not retain their settings under the greater pressures required for graphite drawings. Even among these pencil specific kits, very few top quality drafting sets were made containing leadholders. In fairness, it was not entirely the fault of the compass manufacturers that were responsible for this unforgivable omission, but the evolution of the durable leadholder from the disposable pencil kept its manufacture in the hands of pencil makers and not the tool makers. Even when pencils were included in drafting sets, the pencils were usually supplied by pencil makers but stamped with the toolmaker’s name.

Alteneder 500
Alteneder Model 500. This pencil was an exception to the rule of leadholders being made by pencil manufacturers. It was introduced in the late 1930s by drawing instrument maker Theo. Alteneder & Sons of Philadelphia of materials and workmanship equal to that of their other drawing instruments.

The Pushbutton Spring Clutch

The pushbutton clutch, so familiar on today’s leadholders, was invented by Joseph Hoffman of New York City. In his patent applied for in May of 1879 he includes two embodiments of his invention. One is the familiar end mounted pushbutton type which can easily be operated with one hand, the other is a peculiar form in which the nose is spring-loaded and requires the use of a second hand to manipulate as would be the case with a twist lock leadholder. This invention apparently caught the attention of somebody at the Eagle Pencil Company as the pencil was soon availalbe as the Eagle Automatic and numerous patents for similar instruments were to be filed by Mr. Hoffman as assignor to the Eagle Pencil Co. over the next 20 years or so.

Eagle Automatic 861
The Eagle Automatic was a late-19th century pushbutton spring clutch pencil and was available in numerous sizes and for numerous purposes, but was not considered suitable for professional drawing work.

In 1929 Carlo Schmid, a Geneva engineer, designed a pencil that would quietly revolutionize the way draftsmen viewed mechanical drafting pencils. This was sold as the Caran d’Ache Fixpencil, which has remained essentially unchanged since its introduction. The Fixpencil was the first drafting pencil to successfully employ the pushbutton spring clutch. Although this mechanism was known in the 19th century, it had never been rendered with such precision. Previous spring clutch pencils such as the Eagle Automatic pencil had clutch jaws that could not hold the lead firmly enough to meet the demands of a professional artist or draftsman. The twist lock clutch had the advantage of the inherent adjustibility of the clamping pressure allowing the user to adapt it to the particulars of his situation. The Fixpencil's mechanism addressed these issues with precisely engineered and machined jaws which would increase their hold as pressure was applied to the lead yet spread the compressive holding force over a large enough area of the lead to prevent it from breaking.

Caran d'Ache Fixpencil 1929
The Fixpencil from Caran d’Ache, 1929. This was the fist drafting pencil to employ the pushbutton spring clutch.



During World War II many industries in the United States including the pencil industry were not allowed to use unnecessary metals. Even the ferrule of the common writing pencil was replaced with plastic or paper. This may have affected leadholder production, if not by eliminating them altogether, then by discouraging the use of metal clutches.

After the War, the new type of clutch mechanism pioneered by Caran d’Ache was favored, rendering the 150+ year old twist lock clutch obsolete within a few years. Pencils with pushbutton clutches began appearing in rapidly increasing numbers: in France, the Gilbert & Blanzy-Poure Criterium was introduced in 1939; in Central Europe, the L&C Hardtmuth Versatil in 1946; in the USA, the A.W. Faber Castell Locktite 9400 in 1947; in Germany, the A.W. Faber Castell TK9400 in 1948.

A.W. Faber Castell Locktite 9400
The A.W. Faber Castell Locktite popularized the pushbutton spring lock clutch in the USA, rendering the twist lock clutch obsolete within only a few years.

The pushbutton spring clutch is still used on and estimated 90% or more of all 2 mm leadholders, the remaining being auto advancing mechanisms. The twist lock clutch is no longer produced except for industrial applications such as lumber crayon holders.

With the perfected form of drafting leadholders in place, the story of leadholders in the 70 plus years since the introduction of the pushbutton clutch is primarily a story of proliferation. By the middle of the 1950s there were hundreds of varieties available. Browse through the Leadholder Gallery to see many examples. Some of particular interest are:

The first drafting leadholder by A.W. Faber
This finely crafted early Dixon Eldorado
A leadholder from drawing instrument maker T. Alteneder & Sons
One from Eagle Pencil Co. with a reverse twist lock clutch
The first pushbutton spring clutch from Caran d’Ache
An early Koh-I-Noor "Adapto Clutch" model
An unusual auto advancing/spring lock clutch from the Tru-Point company

Elastichuck
The Elastichuck, introduced in 1945, uses a variation of the twist lock clutch employing a pliable compression washer to grip the lead without damaging it.



Additional Leadholder Developments



One noteworthy post WWII development in drafting pencils was the introduction of flat lead leadholders. The chisel point manner of sharpening the lead of wood-cased pencils and leadholders had been favored by many draftsman because such a point was much more durable and less prone to breakage than a conical point. Some pencil makers even introduced special chisel point pencils which were essentially like small carpenter's pencils to increase these benefits.

Staedtler Mars Lumograph Chisel Point 2888
This Mars-Lumograph Chisel-Point is an example of the flat lead pencils introduced in the middle of the 20th century.

The flat lead leadholder was an effort to take this concept to its logical conclusion: a pencil with a uniformly flat lead that would never need repointing. Such leadholders were developed with a particular application in mind: lofting. Lofting is, to be brief, the laying out of machine parts at full scale. The practice originated in shipbuilding and was carried on into the aircraft industry. The flat lead could lay down a perfectly uniform line without the need for repointing, which was a real benefit when a continuous line could be many yards long. Standard thin lead pencils would be of no use in this application due to the oftentimes rough drawing surface, which could be a sheet of aluminum, either wearing the tiny lead down too quickly or snagging it off entirely.

A.W. Faber Castell 9600
A.W. Faber Castell 9600 mechanism
The Castell 9600 is a true flat lead pencil introduced in the 1950s.





blah blah blah. I'll work on this later.



This page is undergoing a major rewrite. It is currently a mess and I apologize.

Why don't drafting pencils have erasers?


Sometime around 1890 pencils with erasers were first introduced by smaller pencil companies who needed to innovate to survive. The pencils produced by the smaller companies did not directly compete with the high-end drawing pencils of the A.W. Fabers of the industry. The established manufacturers saw the eraser not as an innovation, but as a gimmick to sell inferior pencils and so did not adopt the practice. (Until they had to, that is, to compete with briskly selling eraser tipped office pencils.) So the eraser tip became associated with low quality pencils. Drafting pencils are top-of-the-line and so the perceived eraser gimmick was beneath these pencils. Eventually, however, high quality drawing pencils were available in varieties with eraser tips but they never really caught on. Also, but I don't think this is a major reason drafting pencils have no erasers, some draftsmen sharpened both ends of their drafting pencils and kept different points on each end.





Koh-I-Noor 5616 Super Adapto
The Koh-I-Noor Adapto clutch, as employed on this model 5616, has a flexible collet that allows the jaws to grip lead diameters ranging from over 3 mm to less than 2 mm.

Tru Point Automatic
The Tru Point Automatic has a novel mechanism that combines the firm grip of exposed jaws and the convienience of a pushbutton automatic advance.

Caran d'Ache Fixpencil 1929  
A pencil designed to automatically rotate the lead while drawing.


The inefficient manner in which draftsmen sharpened their pencils begged for improvement. The shaving of the wood case had been eliminated for those who wished with the widespread availability of leadholders, but the lead point was still sharpened with a sandpaper strip mounted on a wooden stick.

The draftsman was expected to make nice, neat drawings while in the same room, at the same table even, grinding graphite to a fine powder with a swatch of sand paper! The sandpaper mess would have to be overcome before the pencil could fully assume the duties of the ink pen as the drawing instrument of record, but this is another story: the story of lead pointers.

This page is undergoing a major rewrite. It is currently a mess and I apologize.

History of Lead Pointers




Mechanical lead pointers are surprisingly recent inventions given that the draftsman's manner of sharpening even a disposable wooden pencil lends itself perfectly to these devices. Before mechanical or bladed lead pointers, sandpaper was used to abrade the point. I am unsure of the date lead pointers first appeared, but I have an inclusive drafting materials catalog from 1927 in which the only pointer listed is the typical sandpaper strip mounted on a wooden slat. Bladed lead pointers similar to the common finger-held block pencil sharpeners were used by some draftsmen, but most enjoyed the flexibility of point style afforded by the sandpaper method.

Tru-Point Lead Pointer
L&C Hardtmuth's Tutior Juwel combination wood case trimmer and pointer.


American Pencil Sharpener Co.’s Dexter was available in a “Draftsman's Special” model which trimmed the wood from around the lead to allow for lead pointing with sandpaper in a separate operation.


The Pencilaid wood trimming sharpener remained attached to the pencil providing a grip.

Sandpaper Paddle

In the late 19th century, handheld bladed sharpeners became available. These were adapted for draftsmen's use by positioning the blade such that the wood case would be trimmed from around the lead, but the lead would pass through the sharpener uncut. The exposed lead would then be sharpened with sandpaper.

Variations of such pointers included models that were designed to remain attached to the pencil and those that also included a small blade for pointing the lead in a separate operation.

Just as handheld sharpeners had models that sharpened the wood and lead in one operation, and draftsman's models that cut away only the lead, mechanical crank operated sharpeners had such versions as well.

Such draftsman’s wood-cased pencil sharpeners were not ideal, however. Because the diameter of the lead in wood-cased pencils varies with the degree, a hard lead might not be fully exposed, or soft lead could break under the pressure of being scraped while isolated from the support of the wood case. Also, if the lead was not perfectly centered, the asymmetrical forces on the lead during sharpening would cause frequent breakage.

Because of these limitations, such sharpeners could not make using wood-cased drafting pencils as painless as using leadholder would become once lead pointers were perfected.

The lead pointer that finally displaced the sandpaper strip in Europe was the Gedess, invented in 1941. Early versions of this pointer included a wood-case trimmer in the base. This pointer is ubiquitous to this day wherever manual drafting is still done in Europe.

In the US it was the Tru-Point lead pointer that revolutionized the way pencils were sharpened. It was faster than using sandpaper, far cleaner, and could be operated with one hand. But even the ubiquitous Tru-Point, which is often mistaken by “antiques” dealers as some 19th or early 20th century contraption, did not appear until 1950. Also at about this time, numerous bladed pointers were developed.

You may have noticed that some leadholders come equipped with a tiny lead pointer built into the removable pushbutton. The usefulness of this feature is debatable. Here is what one experienced draftsman had to say about such pointers:
Tru-Point Lead Pointer
The Gedess lead pointer, invented in 1941.

Tru-Point Lead Pointer
The Tru-Point lead sharpener.

I have a couple of old Staedtlers [leadholders] from my days in art school and never paid any attention to the holes in the pushbuttons until I found out from descriptions on Leadholder that they were lead pointers. I tried it out right away. What a goofy idea.

I remember that a 'sixties drafting office was a dirty environment and the guys did all manner of things to keep the drawings clean. They ritually washed their triangles every week or so. They sprinkled the drawings with Skum-X which consisted of ground up erasings. Most of them used Tru-Points and the ones that used a sandpaper block hung it from a string so it dangled over the waste basket. Everyone rolled up his shirt sleeves to keep his cuffs clean and most wore either an apron—I used a carpenter's nail bag—or a smock to keep his shirt front and necktie clean.

The last place you want loose graphite powder in a drafting office is spewing from the wrong end of your pencil. Putting a lead pointer in the pushbutton turns your leadholder into the Anti-Skum-X, a device diabolically designed to progagate black smudges throughout the office and guaranteed to get your drawings dirty. Has anyone ever used this special feature twice?


  —Laurie Schmidtke  
For additional information on the development of the lead pointer, please refer to the Patents section of this website.



This page is undergoing a major rewrite. It is currently a mess and I apologize.

The History of Thin Lead Drafting Pencils


One way to examine the history of drafting pencils, and maybe pencils as a whole is to understand today's thin lead mechanical pencils as the finest expression of pencil technology and that the history of drafting pencils has been a constant march toward thinner and thinner leads ending in mechanisms and leads the precise thickness of the lines to be drawn with them.

Fuck. That.

While true that the thickness of lead corresponds in general to the age of the mechanical design of a pencil, thinner was not always an improvement.

The first step toward thinner lead mechanical pencils for draftsmen seem to have been early Scriptos. As early as the 1920s they appeared in catalogs of the Eugene Dietzgen Company, as shown at left.

Dietzgen later sold Scripto pencils painted “Dietzgen orange” and imprinted with the Dietzgen name. The Scripto originally came in only 1.1 mm lead thickness, which was really too thick for drafting purposes. Because of this, the lead in Scripto pencils had to be pointed like a 2 mm leadholder. Although of the twist-propelling type, the Scriptos were an improvement over earlier mechanical pencils in that they used a clutch mechanism which prevented the lead from axial rotation and so enabled pointing of the lead. The thin lead, however, could not stand up well to the lateral pressures required for pointing and so drafting with them was an exercise in aggravation and they were not widely used as such.

page 258 page 259
Scripto mechanical pencils appeared in the 1928 (possibly earlier) Eugene Dietzgen Co. catalog. It is tentatively suggested that they are suitable as “drawing” pencils. Later, Dietzgen would market Scriptos marked with the Dietzgen brand specifically for drafting.

It was not until the introduction of polymer based leads developed by Faber-Castell in the 1950s* that true thin lead pencils – with lead the thickness of the line to be drawn – that draftsmen began to appreciate the efficiency of such a drawing tool.


* p 68. Hambly, Maya. Drawing Instruments 1580-1980. Sotheby's. 1988.



Additional Resources



General Pencil History



The Pencil: A History of Design and Circumstance, by Henry Petroski, is the best single source for pencil history. It really is the only game in town other than manufacturers’ catalogs, unless you plan on doing your own historical research into the archives of pencil manufacturers themselves. (But I warn you: the old, esteemed pencil manufacturers have been merged and reorganized so many times in the last 30 years that it is difficult to find someone at say, Sanford Corp., who even knows that they subsumed the Eagle Pencil Co. which was subsumed by Berol which was subsumed by Empire which was subsumed by Sanford.)

Mr. Petroski’s book is as much an essay on the process of engineering as it is a pencil history tome, but if you can stand his occasionally tedious ramblings on the patently obvious challenges to the engineer of pencils, then you will be rewarded with a great deal of factual and anecdotal information about pencils.

Speaking of ramblings, here’s one of mine: Mr. Petroski takes a dim view of my beloved leadholders. I don’t think he mentions them directly at all. Maybe he did once or twice. He insists that in practice, draftsmen prefer wood encased pencils over leadholders. He cites as his source textbooks on drafting. And he’s probably right about the textbooks. They tend to dwell on the obsolete, I guess because they’re written by either grizzled, old, arthritic seniors or dead people in the case of the perpetual editions of Thomas French’s book. Look Petroski, almost no one uses wooden pencils in practice, especially engineers, who flocked to the insipid blandness of thin-lead mechanical pencils. Engineers, if they can draw at all, use, like, two line-weights on their drawings: thick and thicker. Give ’em a 0.5 mm and a 0.7 mm and they’re all set. I’ve worked in several architectural offices from the tiny to the huge and I’ve met one person who used wooden pencils, and don’t get me started on that guy. Leadholders rule. There. I feel much better now.


Use of the Pencil



In Thomas E. French’s classic textbook Engineering Drawing, he has a short, but excellent discussion of drafting pencils.


Leadholder and Lead Pointer Patents



The Patents section of this website has been growing rapidly and the information there is, of course, reliably dated and authoritative.