Unknown Facts and Stationery Tricks Which Might Surprise You

Stationery is such a familiar, everyday thing that we don’t pay it much attention. As stationery geeks, we love to delve into the unknown facts about stationery. Every mundane piece of stationery has a world of amazing facts and trivia related to it which we discover everyday in our curious searches. Some of these facts about how stationery is made or works reveal many useful stationery tricks. Since we thought you could use them to get the most out of your art supplies or pet pieces of stationery, here are some interesting facts we wanted to share with you.

While stationery is the most common of products, we’ve been surprised to learn how much at the cutting edge of science and technology it has always been throughout history. New materials and new methods of production have truly come into their own when they were finally used in stationery and got into the hands of everyone. An example was rubber, which was a revolution in material science when it first spread around the world. It had repercussions in medicine, engineering and in the invention of the rubber-based eraser. It also led to rubber bands.

rubberband ball

Rubber Bands work better when they are refrigerated.

Most objects tend to expand when they get hot and contract when cooled down. However, in case of rubber bands, it actually expands when it gets colder! This is mostly because of the unusual polymer structure of the rubber which relaxes and stretches out when cooled. Hence a rubber band will actually become softer and easier to stretch when it is cooled.

The story of the pencil is long and convoluted, but from the day the discovery of graphite made the modern pencil possible, it has been a magical object. In the early days it was treated as contraband and exchanged in secret by artists and intellectuals. Even after hundreds of years, when a single pencil is worth almost nothing to those of us in modern cities, a pencil is a still a piece of magic.

pencil point macro shot

According to Discovery Magazine (2007) the average pencil can write 45,000 words.

In 2007, a group of volunteers decided to put this theory to the test. They were able to write “To Kill a Mockingbird” using only one pencil. The novel contains 100,388 words.

Check towriteamockingbird.blogspot.com/ for details!

Stationery is so ubiquitous that it is practically intimate. How many of us have chewed nervously into the ends of a pencil? How many of us have used a ruler to scratch an unreachable itch. Stationery is all around us and is personal and something we feel to be safe. This is something we hadn’t always realised and it is a reality we’ve had to contend with over time.

bic cristal pens caps

Most mass-produced plastic pens have tiny holes in the top of the pen caps. (We’ve been too busy chewing on them to notice this!)

The reason is to prevent the cap from completely obstructing the airway if accidentally inhaled. And, to equalize the pressure inside the pen to keep it from leaking.

Considering our collective and common fixation with the sensations of touching and feeling stationery, it’s not been unknow for the enterprising few to make variations of stationery more pleasant to touch, or feel, or smell.

fresh crayola crayons stack

Crayola launched more than three million boxes of food-scented crayons in 1994. Available in mouthwatering favorites such as coconut, licorice, chocolate, cherry and blueberry.

These were withdrawn one year later because parents were concerned that children would eat them for breakfast or try to blow bubbles with them. Crayola received fewer than 10 reports of children ingesting the non-toxic crayons, but the company felt it was enough reason to retire the scents. The food-scented crayons were replaced with scents such as baby powder, leather jacket, dirt, cedar chest and the ever-popular ‘new car smell.’

We have adjusted ourselves to stationery and stationery has adjusted itself to our needs and safety. Sometimes we forget how much of our abilities or inabilities went into moulding what certain pieces of stationery came to be. They are a reflection of our biology.

yellow highlighter tip

The iconic bright yellow highlighter accounts for more than 85% of highlighter sales around the world.

Yellow is one of the most visible colours to the human eye and can also be seen by people with red-green color blindness. Plus when you use a black and white photocopier to duplicate a document marked with yellow or other brightly coloured, fluorescent highlighter, the highlights don’t show up! Yellow highlighter is a very pale and light shade. The copy machine sees it as being very close to white. It is smoothed out, and therefore does not show up in copies. This allows you to mark sections of a document without the highlights blacking out or obscuring text in copies.

We grow attached to things and we also let things fall into disuse. Stationery in general and pens in particular are probably one of the most common victims of this wide-spread human propensity.

sharpie pen held high

Dried out sharpies and other permanent markers can be revived. Don’t throw them out yet.

Permanent markers are prone to drying out if you use it a lot or don’t seal the cap perfectly. Permanent markers contain organic solvents, which are notoriously bad about evaporating and dry out faster than water-based markers. To rescue a dried pen, you need to replace the solvent. The easiest option is to use rubbing alcohol. Simply place the Sharpie, tip down, into a bowl of rubbing alcohol and let it sit until ink starts running out from the tip. Choose rubbing alcohol that is 91%, 95%, or 99%.

These are only a few interesting facts about our favourite stationery objects. We’re always on the look out for more so feel free to get in touch over the various platforms and share your own personal tips and strange habits with stationery.

May your pencils be sharp and your erasers clean.

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