William Monroe was the first to develop the pencil in the United States. He developed a way to grind down the graphite and combine it with clay and other substances to fashion into the lead of the pencil. In 1812 he sold his first pencils. Here’s the thing, the war of 1812 was going on with England, supplies were limited in what items could be purchased from Europe. This meant the pencil was one of those items. Also because of the war his cabinet making business was struggling. The old adage “Necessity is the mother of invention” well this certainly applied to the invention of the production of the modern pencil in America. Monroe also developed the technique of putting the lead into the center of the pencil.
By 1814 he had made nearly 175,000 pencils, which sold for about six thousand dollars, a very large amount of money at the time.
By 1835 he had made over 5 million pencils.
Other pencil businesses developed over the years but Monroe’s was one of the most successful. But there is another significant event that happened in the 1800’s.
March 30, 1858, Mr. Hymen L. Lipman patented the rubber eraser that attached to the pencil. Lipmand sold his patent for 100k and a lawsuit was filed against Faber (a pencil maker in NY) and the lawsuit made it all the way to the Supreme Court you can find this lawsuit on the Internet.