What is in Pencil Lead?
A pencil's core, aka the "lead," isn't actually lead at all. It's mostly a non-toxic mineral called graphite, which is in a powdered form and mixed together with water and clay.
Hundreds of years ago, raw graphite was the only ingredient used inside of pencils. Pencil makers thrived on this mineral all throughout Europe, with the industry really booming throughout the 16th and 17th centuries. Isaac Newton, Ernest Hemingway, and Thomas Edison are just a few of the many great thinkers who brainstormed with a graphite pencil in hand.
All this popularity, however, caused graphite to quickly became a scarce commodity. A French painter named Nicolas-Jacques Conté completely saved pencils from going extinct by cutting down the amount of graphite used inside and mixing it together with water and clay instead. This is what's found inside the pencils we use to this very day!