Pencils have undergone significant changes since the discovery of graphite in 1564. Since graphite is a soft material, writing enthusiasts quickly learned that graphite had to be housed in a wooden casing, unlike lead, the predecessor of graphite.
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Historically, many pencils were made from the Eastern red cedar. This wood fell out of favor in the early 1900s.
Timber companies where constantly on the lookout for new, better, wood for pencil making. It was in the early 1900s that they discovered Incense cedar was optimal for pencils.
Incense cedar grows in the Sierra Nevada Mountains in California. The nature of this cedar produces high-quality pencils.
Strict forest management has insured that incense cedars grow in abundance. Forest management has also prevented the destruction of the natural habitat of the Sierra Nevada region.
The practice of sustained yield allows timber companies to ensure that timber growth is always greater than the amount of timber harvested. Because of their careful milling techniques, incense cedars will remain the wood of choice for pencils.
Incense cedar pencils are sold worldwide. However, most pencil-making businesses are located in Tennessee and a few other Southern states.