I just meandered my way over to Ivan Cowie's Dilbert-like cubical in the next bay to chat about his recent EE Times article on battery technology when I saw a really cool display on his wall:
The pencil: A 400-plus year-old word processor that's still going strong
(Click here to see a larger version of this image.)
Involving real, physical pencils glued to a board, this is really rather clever. The legend under the main pencil says that the model shown comes equipped with an executive "Cylindrical Malfunction Adjuster" (the eraser on the end, of course). Below this are four other models, each with an amusing caption.
In addition to bringing a smile to my face, this display caused me to pause for a moment's reflection about how it's easy to take something as simple (or that appears to be as simple) as the pencil for granted. Can you imagine the world before the widespread availability of things like pencils and paper?
I just spent a happy few minutes bouncing around the Internet looking up the history of the pencil. Actually, I should say histories, because just about every reference I found gave a different story. Wouldn’t it be amazing if one could peer back through the mists of time and really know who did what to whom..., when..., and why...?
— Max Maxfield, Editor of All Things Fun & Interesting