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The Pencil

Henry Petroski

The Pencil is celebrated engineer Henry Petroski’s witty and insightful history of one of mankind’s most important pieces of technology.

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Henry Petroski’s witty and unexpected history of the pencil includes a wide range of characters: from the American philosopher Henry David Thoreau, and Toulouse-Lautrec, who declared, ‘I am a pencil’, to the great nineteenth-century manufacturing families, such as Dixon and Faber. Petroski charmingly celebrates the design history of one of mankind’s most essential, and yet undervalued, tools.

‘One of those great books that starts a genre. A witty liaison between folk history and deconstruction, it manages to be both wide-angle lens and microscope. Enthralling.’ Stephen Bayley