Posts Tagged ‘pencil’
Johnny Gamber cares about pencils– so much so that he’s into his tenth year of blogging about them. Fellow lovers of lead (and of superior sharpeners, stationery, erasers, and the like) will want to head over to his site: Pencil Revolution.
(Readers might also want to luxuriate in Henry Petroski’s glorious paean, The Pencil: A History of Design and Circumstance.)
* Xi Chuan, Notes on the Mosquito: Selected Poems
As we crank the sharpener, we might recall that it was on this date in 1811, in Arnold, Nottinghamshire, that the angry textile artisans attacked a textile factory– the first of the Luddite Riots.
The Luddite movement emerged during the harsh economic climate of the Napoleonic Wars, when stocking frames, spinning frames, and power looms introduced during the Industrial Revolution threatened to replace the artisans with less-skilled, low-wage laborers. Although the origin of the name “Luddite” is uncertain, a popular theory is that the movement was named after Ned Ludd, who allegedly smashed two stocking frames in 1779, and whose name had become emblematic of those who fight against technology that eliminates traditional jobs (or culture).
As we muse on Mango Tango, we might recall that it was on this date in 1895 that Frederick E. Blaisdell of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, was granted U.S. patent No. 549,952 for a paper pencil, (self-sharpening pencils, on which the tip could be renewed by peeling away some of the paper barrel– the type better known as “china markers” today), as well as patent number 550,212 for a machine for manufacturing pencils.
Readers seemed to enjoy Simon Raper’s diagrammatic history of philosophy (see “Who’s Hume“), so may also appreciate Brendan Griffen‘s even more ambitious visual essay– a depiction of the connections between every important thinker, ever: “The Graph of Ideas.”
He fields it at two levels of detail; the first (pictured at the top of this post, with a link to a zoomable version) treats roughly 850 thinkers, clustering those most closely related and showing how each is connected. For example:
The second treats his entire set of 4,200 thinkers; it is here (it’s a 50MB file, so takes a while to load– but it’s worth it).
Read the backstory– the method used and the iterative attempts to avoid a Western bias– here.
[TotH to CoDesign]
As we honor our ancestors, we might send carefully-scrawled birthday greetings to Nicolas-Jacques Conté; he was born on this date in 1755. While Conté was an accomplished painter, balloonist, and army officer, he is best remembered for his contribution to the later contributions to the charts above: the invention of the modern pencil.
Your correspondent is off for a period of deep and serious study of the smoked and fried foods of the Low Country. Sticky fingers being the impediment to keyboarding that they are, regular service will resume in mid-August… Y’all have fun!