The Pencil: A History of Design and Circumstance 1st Edition

4.2 out of 5 stars 47 ratings
ISBN-13: 978-0679734154
ISBN-10: 9780679734154
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Book Condition: Nice clean copy with no highlighting or writing.
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Comment: Nice clean copy with no highlighting or writing.
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Frequently bought together

  • The Pencil: A History of Design and Circumstance
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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Like most other human artifacts, the common pencil, made and sold today by the millions, has a long and complex history. Henry Petroski, who combines a talent for fine writing with a deep knowledge of engineering and technological history, examines the story of the pencil, considering it not only as a thing in itself, but also as an exemplar of all things that are designed and manufactured.

Petroski ranges widely in time, discussing the writing technologies of antiquity. But his story really begins in the early modern period, when, in 1565, a Swiss naturalist first described the properties of the mineral that became known as graphite. Petroski traces the evolution of the pencil through the Industrial Revolution, when machine manufacture replaced earlier handwork. Along the way, he looks at some of pencil making's great innovators--including Henry David Thoreau, the famed writer, who worked in his father's pencil factory, inventing techniques for grinding graphite and experimenting with blends of lead, clay, and other ingredients to yield pencils of varying hardness and darkness. Petroski closes with a look at how pencils are made today--a still-imperfect technology that may yet evolve with new advances in materials and design. --Gregory McNamee

From Publishers Weekly

This delightful history of the lowly pencil offers a mind-sharpening look at the intersection of engineering, economics and culture. Illustrated.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Customer reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5
47 customer ratings
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Reviewed in the United States on January 29, 2014
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Reviewed in the United States on March 9, 2015
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Reviewed in the United States on January 18, 2014
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Reviewed in the United States on June 17, 2006
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Reviewed in the United States on February 14, 2017
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Reviewed in the United States on April 29, 2020
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Reviewed in the United States on February 23, 2018
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Reviewed in the United States on August 15, 2017
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Top international reviews

John Jay Cornwell
5.0 out of 5 stars Sweet!!!
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on May 15, 2015
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me55
3.0 out of 5 stars correct title should be: The American Pencil: a History... with a brief introduction ...
Reviewed in Italy on June 29, 2019
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Paolo
4.0 out of 5 stars Buon libro per artisti curiosi
Reviewed in Italy on December 11, 2017
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Olivier H
5.0 out of 5 stars Pas mal
Reviewed in France on December 16, 2018
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