The World Behind A Pencil

And What its Made of


  • The graphite is mined in open pit mines and shaft mines and refined into a powder
  • The powder is mixed with water and oil to separate it from any impurities
  • Wet, refined graphite goes into a dryer and becomes a powder again
  • Certain amounts of clay are mixed with graphite and water
  • The amount of clay put into the graphite affects how hard or soft the graphite ends up
  • If you're making a soft, dark piece of graphite, you would barely put any clay in it and vice versa
  • Powder is pressed into block and set for a week to cure
  • A hydraulic press pushes the block of graphite through a small hole, making a long string that is soon cut into pencil sized pieces
  • Pieces need to harden, so they are loaded into a dryer and then a kiln at high temperatures; this hardens the clay in the graphite


  • Cedar wood is dried, stained and waxed to prevent warping
  • The logs are sawed into strips that are about 8 inches long, .25 inches thick, and about 3 inches wide
  • The strips are cut flat and are incised with a semicircular groove that's half of the width of the graphite
  • 1/2 of the strips are placed on a conveyor belt where the surface is then covered in glue and a piece of graphite is laid in each groove
  • The other half of the strips are laid onto the strips with the glue and graphite
  • The newly formed pencils are laid put under a hydraulic press and they are pressed until they dry
  • The pencils are then cut into their unique shape

Fun Fact!

Did you know that a pencils unique hexagonal design is made to keep the pencil from rolling off surfaces?


  • Pigments are mixed in for color
  • Vegetable oil is added to make the eraser softer
  • Pumice is added to make the eraser more corrosive
  • Sulfur is put in to allow the rubber to be hardened under heat
  • All these ingredients are mixed into the rubber at a high temperature and then the substance is left to cool down
  • The rubber is then cut into squares and hardened by a steam heated press
  • The substance is then cut into the desired shape and fastened onto the pencil with a ferrule, a metal case

Where its Made

  • You can find pure graphite in a mine (usually mixed with rock)
  • Graphite is usually manufactured in China
  • Cedar wood is found in California and you can find it being cut in The General Pencil Company Inc. in New Jersey.
  • Rubber is made out of the latex that is found in the tree species Hevea brasiliensis in the amazon rainforest and it is prepared in the Winsure Erasers Factory based in China
  • Each component is made and then shipped to the USA to be assembled and painted and marked with company's logo.
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My Map Explanation


  • Graphite is mined and made into the material used in pencils in China
  • The graphite is then shipped to New Jersey to be made into a pencil


  • Latex is harvested from the tree species "Hevea brasiliensis" in the amazon rain forest and shipped to China to be made into rubber
  • The rubber is then made into erasers and shipped to New Jersey to be assembled into the pencil

Cedar Wood

  • The cedar wood is cut down and debarked in California and is shipped to New Jersey to be assembled into a pencil

The finished pencil is then transported to NH to be bought

Categories of Globalization

  1. Economic
  2. Cultural
  3. Technological
  4. Enviormental


The economic problem with pencils is that when a certain pencil brand creates a high-quality pencil, consumers don't really care whether it's high quality or not because it's such a simple product. Consumers really only care about the price, and that makes it difficult to put your pencil company on top of all the other pencil companies.


In Burma, a country that borders China, their culture makes it likely that a child would be working in a factory. This relates to my product because the rubber that erasers are made of is produced using child labor in that country. In our culture, it is frowned upon to put children to work, especially in potentially hazardous conditions.


The problem with the manufacturing of pencils is that they use up large amounts of natural resources. In some areas, large forests are cut down, waterways are being contaminated, and the air is being filled with pollutants.

I think a potential solution to this problem is to make the pencil completely out of recycled materials. I know some companies have used recycled newspapers to make the casing of the pencil, but I think we could help the environment by making the pencil completely out of recycled material. I think this is a viable solution because were already making things completely out of recycled material, and there are so many pencils produced in a year it would be a good proposal. It would help save the environment and make production of pencils cheaper.


Most of the making of the pencil is done by machine. What used to be done by many people working in a factory, machines are doing with maybe a couple people watching over them for safety concerns. This is a problem because the workers that the machines replaced are now jobless.

How Globalization Relates to Me

Globalization plays a big part in my life. Mostly everything I wear is made in a country other than the USA. Most of the every-day, normal products I use to make my life easier are made in other countries as well. Globalization also helps me understand the things that are happening outside America and the problems that the world is facing.

Why did I Choose a Pencil?

I chose a pencil for this project because its a product everyone, everywhere has used sometime in their life, and there is a whole world behind it that most people never think about. I use this product almost every day at school or at home.
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