M&G Mechanical Pencil – ‘Exam and sketch’ HAMP0355
The M&G mechanical pencil HAMP0355 is one of a long line of innovative mechanical pencil products. But when did they originate and what is their history?
The History of Mechanical Pencils
Mechanical pencils were first patented by Sampson Mordan and John Isaac Hawkins in Britain in 1822. There are examples of earlier types, one attributed to the ship HMS Pandora which sank in 1791. From this first patent, engineers then innovated a flurry of different types and they lodged numerous of patents. In fact, between 1822 and 1874, there were in excess of 160 patents filed!
Over time, engineers developed different mechanisms to propel the lead. Some mechanical pencils are operated by a screw mechanism, some by a clutch and some being of a ratchet type. The ratchet type are a variant of the clutch type. Clutch type propelled the lead when the end cap was pressed, a common feature of modern mechanical pencils. However, the draw back is that the lead is not propelled under control. The clutch mechanism opens 3 jaws that hold the lead and allow it to fall freely. This means that the operator must adjust how much lead is protruding.
The Ratchet mechanism was a major improvement in that it actually propels an amount of lead through the jaws, holding the lead firm as it does so. Even more advanced is the automatic mechanical pencil where the lead is propelled due to pressure changes at the tip as one writes.
Given that one is writing with graphite lead, it makes sense to incorporate an eraser with the pencil and many have these, usually under a small end cap. This of course presented a problem for BS7272 cap safety specifications because the end cap cannot be made vented to a degree that would permit the correct airflow. By the time that BS7272 was written (relatively recently, within the last 15 years), there were so many designs and variants of mechanical pencils in the market that an exception was made: eraser caps are exempt!
M&G ‘For Exam’ mechanical pencil
The M&G mechanical pencil ‘For exam’, is a rather unusual, maybe unique pencil. It contains a soft 2b lead which is 2.8mm wide and 1mm thick. This makes it ideal for exam use, for filling in those multiple choice circles. However, the lead shape makes it suitable if you wish to practice calligraphy. For artists, it is great because the soft lead smudges easily.
This product is supplied with a pack of spare leads in a blister pack, making it ideal for retailers who wish to display it on ‘euro-hooks’.
- Soft grip
- Soft, wide 2b lead.
- Eraser under the end cap.
- End cap push to expel lead with a ratchet mechanism.
- Range of body colours available
Buy single pencils
Never put the end cap into your mouth – there is a choking hazard and it is bad for hygiene. Not suitable for use by people under the age of 10 years. Younger people should be supervised by a responsible adult.