On this day in history, March 30, 1858, American visionary Hymen Lipman patents pencil with eraser

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Philadelphia Inventor Hymen L. Lipman heroically rushed to the aid of schoolchildren, illustrators and error-prone artists everywhere when he patented the pencil with eraser on this day in history, March 30, 1858.

“Whether it be known that I, Hymen L. Lippmann, of Philadelphia, in the County of Philadelphia and Pennsylvania state, invented a new and useful pencil and eraser; wrote the visionary in his patent application.

“I make a pencil in the usual way, keeping about a quarter of the length, where I make a groove of suitable size…and insert into this groove a piece of prepared India rubber (or other erasable material) which secures the pencil by sticking it to one edge,” he said. .

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He noted in his application that the eraser is “particularly valuable for removing or erasing lines, figures, etc., and is not liable to stain or mislead on a table or desk”—as if the purpose of the eraser had not been known until the middle of it. Nineteenth century consumers.

Lippman was born into a Sephardi Jewish family Kingston, Jamaicain 1817.

Hymen L. Lipman (1817-1893) is credited with filing the first patent for a pencil with an eraser attached on March 30, 1858.

Hymen L. Lipman (1817-1893) is credited with filing the first patent for a pencil with an eraser attached on March 30, 1858. (scientific)

Immigrating to the United States at the age of 21 – like sliced ​​bread inventor Otto Rohwedder – he set out to reimagine everyday things for the better.

“Lippmann was also the first manufacturer of envelopes in America, and had the idea of ​​adding adhesive to the back cover, so as to make the sealing process easier,” reports Haaretz.com for Israel.

A pencil with an eraser is “particularly valuable for removing or erasing lines, shapes, etc., and cannot get dirty or broken on a table or desk.” – Hyman Lippman

“He devised a method of binding sheets with a perforation that preceded the stapler by two decades. Lippmann was the first to produce and sell blank postcards in the United States, in 1873.”

Perhaps his eraser represented the greatest of all in America Contribute to Pencilcraft.

Sheep walk along Hunster Pass in the Borrowdale Valley in the Lake District, Cumbriam England, circa 1925. Graphite discovered in Borrowdale in the 16th century proved useful for marking sheepskins – and fueled the rise of the pencil industry.

Sheep walk along Hunster Pass in the Borrowdale Valley in the Lake District, Cumbriam England, circa 1925. Graphite discovered in Borrowdale in the 16th century proved useful for marking sheepskins – and fueled the rise of the pencil industry. (Daily Mirror / MirrorPix / MirrorPix via Getty Images)

The oldest writing instrument, a pen made of lead, dates back to ancient times, including the Egyptian and Roman empires.

Pencils gained popularity with the discovery of graphite deposits in the Borrowdale Valley North of England In the sixteenth century.

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“Although (graphite) looks like coal, it won’t burn,” according to the Museum of Earth Sciences at the University of Waterloo (Canada). “However, it has proven to be an excellent marker for sheepskin.”

Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862).  The American author wrote his most famous and enduring works, "Walden, or Life in the Woods," In 1854, in Concord, Massachusetts.  he "He was also famous for his skill in making pencils." According to Pencil.com.

Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862). The American author wrote his most famous and enduring work, Walden, or Life in the Woods in 1854, in Concord, Massachusetts. According to Pencil.com, he was also “famous for his pencil craftsmanship.” (Hulton Archive / Getty Images)

Graphite also has one major advantage over the lead used in earlier pencils: graphite is not toxic.

“A market opened for it around the end of the sixteenth century. German miners from Keswick in the early sixteenth century made further progress in extracting graphite from this site,” notes the university.

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Although generally referred to as lead pencils, even in Lippmann’s patent application, they are actually made of non-toxic graphite.

“Nuremberg, Germany, was the birthplace of the first mass-produced pencils in 1662. Encouraged by Faber-Castell (founded 1761), Lyra & Staedler, and other companies, the pencil industry arose during the industrial revolution in the 19th century,” Pencil.com , published by California Cedar Products Co.

The pencil with eraser was patented in the United States by Hymen Lippmann, an immigrant from Jamaica, on March 30, 1858.

The pencil with eraser was patented in the United States by Hymen Lippmann, an immigrant from Jamaica, on March 30, 1858. (Alamy/Getty Images)

“Early settlers relied on pencils from abroad until war with England cut off imports. William Monroe, a cabinetmaker in Concord, Massachusetts, is credited with making the first wooden pencils in America in 1812.”

Famed Concord resident Henry David Thoreau, whose transcendental Walden remains essential to American letters more than 150 years after its publication, “was also famous for his ingenuity with the pencil,” says Pencil.com.

Henry David Thoreau was also known for his virtuosity with the pencil. – Pencil.com.

The site highlights many other notable figures in the history of pencildom.

Italian artist and scientist Leonardo da Vinci, Founding Father Benjamin Franklin, and American explorers Meriwether Lewis and William Clark were well-documented pencil enthusiasts.

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However, before Lippmann of Philadelphia, no one seemed to have the foresight to attach an eraser.

“As useful as Lippmann’s new product innovation was, it didn’t fly off the shelves to begin with,” pencil enthusiast and blogger Patrick Morvin wrote in 2018.

Pencil with eraser, attached to a metal grommet.  Hymen's original American patent called for a pencil and eraser to be attached with glue.

Pencil with eraser, attached to a metal grommet. Hymen’s original American patent called for a pencil and eraser to be attached with glue. (Wodicka/ullstein bild via Getty Images)

The onset of the Civil War in 1861 is said to have changed the fortunes of the pencil with the eraser—and those of Mr. Lippman, too.

“The war, as it often does, provides a huge market for pencil manufacturers,” added Marvin.

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“Millions would be needed by the military, industrial, and government bureaucracy. Businessman Joseph Rickendorfer saw the potential, and in 1862 bought the patent rights from Lippmann for a staggering $100,000, more than $2 million in current dollars.”

He continued, “Libman walked away from a very rich man.”

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