How Does a Pencil Sharpener Work - How to Sharpen a Colored Pencil - Interesting facts for Kids
A pencil sharpener (also referred to in Ireland as a parer or topper) is a device for sharpening a pencil's writing point by shaving away its worn surface. Pencil sharpeners may be operated manually or by an electric motor.
Before the development of dedicated pencil sharpeners, a pencil was sharpened by whittling it with a knife. Pencil sharpeners made this task much easier and gave a more uniform result. Some specialized types of pencils, such as carpenter's pencils are still usually sharpened with a knife, due to their flat shape, though since the 2000s a fixed-blade device with a rotatable collar has become available.
French mathematician Bernard Lassimonne applied for the first patent (French patent #2444) on pencil sharpeners in 1828, but it was not until 1847 that the pencil sharpener in its recognisable modern form was invented by fellow Frenchman Thierry des Estivaux. The first American pencil sharpener was patented by Walter K. Foster of Bangor, Maine in 1855. Electric pencil sharpeners for offices have been made since at least 1917.
They now come in a wide array of colors and shapes. It is common for traditional sharpeners to have a case around them to collect the shavings. It can be removed for emptying the shavings into a compost bin.
In May 2011, tourism officials in Logan, Ohio put on display, in its regional welcome center, hundreds of pencil sharpeners which had been collected by Rev. Paul Johnson, an Ohio minister who died in 2010. Johnson, a World War II veteran, had kept his collection of more than 3,400 sharpeners in a small shed, outside his home in Carbon Hill in southeast Ohio. He had started collecting after his wife gave him a few pencil sharpeners as a gift in the late 1980s. He kept them organized into categories, including cats, Christmas, and Disneyland. The oldest was 105 years old.
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