The Cumberland Pencil Museum

A fascinating museum. And a fascinating web site.

It has the history of Cumberland graphite. First discovered about 1500 near Keswick by shepherds and was first used for marking sheep.

About 50 years later, the first pencils ever made were produced from the graphite. Pencils were made in the beginning by cutting the graphite and wrapping it in sheepskin. A wooden holder was then developed in Italy. A cottage industry making pencils grew in Keswick. The web site and museum have pictures of these early days of pencil manufacturing.

[Thank you Mark Malik for telling us about this museum and website.]