Art Quote

“As practice makes perfect, I cannot but make progress; each drawing one makes, each study one paints, is a step forward.”

Vincent van Gogh


Inkin’ great facts about the Ball Pen

1. On average, 100 people choke to death on ballpoint pens every year. 
2. More than 2 billion pens are manufactured in the United States annually. 
3. There are 5 main kinds of pens used worldwide; ballpoint, fountain, soft-tip. rolling-ball and specialty pens. 
4. The first fountain pen was invented by L.E. Waterman in 1883, and had it patented in 1884. 
5. The first ballpoint pen was invented by Hungarian journalist Laszlo Biro in 1938, but the first patent belonged to John J. Loud in 1888. 
6. In World War II, pilots used ballpoint pens because they do not leak at high altitudes. 
7. The oldest surviving fountain pen designed by Frenchman M. Bion, dates back to 1702. 
8. The first American patent for a pen was received by Peregrin Williamson, a shoemaker from Baltimore. 
9. Today, 4 fountain pen producers have a monopoly on the market, Waterman, Sheaffer, Parker and Wahl-Eversharp. 
10. In October, 1945, Milton Reynolds, after a previous visit to Buenos Aires where he discovered the Biro pen, (invented by Laszlo Biro) copied the product in 4 months and launched his own massive campaign in New York City, selling USD 100, 000 worth in the first day. 

Pencil Facts with a “Point”

1 There is no risk of lead poisoning if you stab yourself (or someone else) with a pencil because it contains no lead—just a mixture of clay and graphite. Still, pencil wounds carry a risk of infection for the stabees, lawsuits for stabbers.

2 And bad juju for anyone linked to Watergate: In his autobiography, G. Gordon Liddy describes finding John Dean (whom he despised for “disloyalty”) alone in a room. Spotting sharpened pencils on a desk, Liddy fleetingly considered driving one into Dean’s throat.

3 Graphite, a crystallized form of carbon, was discovered near Keswick, England, in the mid-16th century. An 18th-century German chemist, A. G. Werner, named it, sensibly enough, from the Greek graphein, “to write.”

4 The word “pencil” derives from the Latin penicillus, meaning—not so sensibly—“little tail.”

5 Pencil marks are made when tiny graphite flecks, often just thousandths of an inch wide, stick to the fibers that make up paper.

6 Got time to kill? The average pencil holds enough graphite to draw a line about 35 miles long or to write roughly 45,000 words. History does not record anyone testing this statistic.

7 The Greek poet Philip of Thessaloníki wrote of leaden writing instruments in the first century B.C., but the modern pencil, as described by Swiss naturalist Conrad Gesner, dates only to 1565.

8 French pencil boosters include Nicolas-Jacques Conté, who patented a clay-and-graphite manufacturing process in 1795; Bernard Lassimone, who patented the first pencil sharpener in 1828; and Therry des Estwaux, who invented an improved mechanical sharpener in 1847.

9 French researchers also hit on the idea of using caoutchouc, a vegetable gum now known as rubber, to erase pencil marks. Until then, writers removed mistakes with bread crumbs.

10 Most pencils sold in America today have eraser tips, while those sold in Europe usually have none. Are Europeans more confident scribblers?

11 Henry David Thoreau—American, but a confident scribbler all the same—used pencils to write Walden. And he probably got them free. His father owned a pencil-making business near Boston, where Henry allegedly designed his own pencils before becoming a semi-recluse.

12 In 1861, Eberhard Faber built the first American mass-production pencil factory in New York City.

13 Pencils were among the basic equipment issued to Union soldiers during the Civil War.

14 The mechanical pencil was patented in 1822. The company founded by its British developers prospered until 1941, when the factory was bombed, presumably by pencil-hating Nazis.

15 Je suis un crayon rouge. After the 1917 Soviet revolution, American entrepreneur Armand Hammer was awarded a monopoly for pencil manufacturing in the USSR.

16 More than half of all pencils come from China. In 2004, factories there turned out 10 billion pencils, enough to circle the earth more than 40 times.

17 Pencils can write in zero gravity and so were used on early American and Russian space missions—even though NASA engineers worried about the flammability of wood pencils in a pure-oxygen atmosphere, not to mention the menace of floating bits of graphite.

18 Those concerns inspired Paul Fisher to develop the pressurized Fisher Space Pen in 1965. After the Apollo 1 fire, NASA banned pencils in favor of his pen on manned spaceflights.

19 The world’s largest pencil is a Castell 9000, on display at the manufacturer’s plant near Kuala Lumpur. Made of Malaysian wood and polymer, it stands 65 feet high.

20 At the other extreme, engineers at the University of California at Santa Barbara have used an atomic force microscope as a kind of pencil to draw lines 50 nanometers (two millionths of an inch) wide. Just because they could.

Seven Fun Facts About Popeye and Olive Oyl

  1. Popeye wasn’t originally planned to be a leading character. Created by E. C. Segar for a comic strip in the New York Journal, Olive Oyl and her family (Castor Oyl¸ Diesel Oyl, etc.) were the main characters along with Horace Hamgravy, a man who was in love with Olive Oyl. Popeye didn’t make his debut in the comic strip until 1929, which was 10 years later!
  2. Popeye’s family has a slew of funny names, including his dad who was named Poopdeck Pappy and Popeye’s baby nephews – Pupeye, Pipeye, Peepeye, and of course, Poopeye. They were quadruplets.
  3. The creator of Popeye gave him spinach to eat to increase his strength and energy immediately because it was believed that spinach had 10 times more iron that what it actually has. A report was printed in 1870 that stated this fallacy due to a typo. It wasn’t until 1981 when it was corrected by a republishing of the study in the British Medical Journal.
  4. The Popeye comic strip is responsible for two words that are now common in our lexicon – “jeep” and “goon.” E.C. Segar gave Popeye a jungle pet who was named Eugene the Jeep two years before the US military started using the word “jeep.” The pet could show up in various situations and it was very versatile, which is why the military started using to word to describe the vehicles that we now call “jeeps” today.
  5. During the 1930s, surveys showed that Popeye was preferred over Mickey Mouse.
  6. Along with Little Lulu and Casper the Friendly Ghost, Popeye was one of the few Paramount cartoons that you won’t see in “Who Framed Roger Rabbit?” The production company gave the producers permission to use scenes from other cartoons but not these three.
  7. In 2004, Popeye turned 75. The Empire State Building “turned green” to honor the cartoon sailor. It was the only time this landmark honored a cartoon character.