March 30: on this day in 1858 Hymen Lipman of Philadelphia received a patent for his revolutionary invention – The pencil. By incorporating an eraser into the core of the pencil he changed the course of pencil history!
Mr. Lipman sold his patent to Joseph Reckendorfer for $100,000 who subsequently took legal action against the venerable Farber Castelle for patent infringement. As a result of the Supreme Court ruled against him revoked the patent in 1875 saying it was not a new invention. There is no truth to the rumor that Ruth Bader Ginsburg was asked to write the courts opinion. Although I like to believe Notorious RBG is very pro-pencil.
In the 1900’s it became fashionable to secure an eraser to with a brass ferrule. Ferrule designers let their imaginations run wild until the National Bureau of Standards attempted to standardize the physical characteristics of pencils in the 1930’s. Now, we recognize the contemporary ferrule as part of a pencils’ personality. Think of the yellow Ticonderoga #2 with its festive green and yellow striped ferule or the dark and mysterious Youva Stallion clad all in back.
Naturally, I’m celebrating with a rousing chorus of charlotte’s heartfelt vocal tribute to the #2 pencil.