What Item Was Made By Frenchman Nicolas-Jacques Conté In 1795?


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Lucy Burroughs Profile
Lucy Burroughs answered

In 1795, Nicolas-Jacques Conté (French painter, army officer and balloonist) created the modern-day pencil.

Why Was the Pencil Made?

Due to the economic blockade imposed during the French revolution, France was unable to import graphite sticks from Great Britain or graphite pencils from Germany. French politician Lazare Carnot asked Conté to design a pencil that could be produced in France without the need for foreign imports.

Nicolas-Jacques Conté and Joseph Hardtmuth

Although Conté received the patent for his invention in 1795, Austrian Joseph Hardtmuth's pencil factory was using the same method to make such pencils in 1792.

Conté made pencils by combining clay and powdered graphite, a mixture which he would then bake in a kiln and insert between two wooden half-cylinders. These would then be sealed together to form the casing. For harder or darker pencils, more graphite and less clay would be used in the mix.

The main differences between these pencils and those that had been used previously are the materials used for the 'lead' and the easy and cheap method of manufacturing.

Shezan Shaikh Profile
Shezan Shaikh answered
Nicolas Jacques Conte was born on the 4th of August 1755. In the year 1975 he invented the 'Pencil'. He was also a painter, an army officer and a balloonist. His birth place is Saint-Céneri-près-Sées in Normandy. He was very highly respected for his mechanical brilliance which was very helpful to the French army in Egypt. When the French Revolution started in 1789 Conte decided to come back and setup his own pencil factory.

It is because of Nicolas Jacques Conte that we have the pencil. He invented the pencil lead. He invented the lead as it was a request from Lazare Nicolas Marguerite Carnot. Conte not only invented the pencil but also the Color Crayons.

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