Pencil sharpener. It is also known by other names as Sharpeners or Sharpener, basically it is made up (depending on the model) of one or several very sharp metal blades that cut the wood of the pencil in a uniform and conical shape, allowing the graphite tip to be exposed and ready to perform the writing, drawing or function for which it is intended.


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  • 1 hand sharpener
  • 2 crank sharpeners
  • 3 Electric pencil sharpeners
  • 4 History
  • 5 Sources

Hand sharpener

This model is very practical and easy to transport, generally it does not have moving parts, it consists of a blade fixed to a metal or plastic body , which has a conical hole through which the pencil is inserted and by means of its mechanical rotation against the blade, the latter performs the cut. The shape of this can vary, since there are countless of them, many imitate animals or any kind of thing that makes them very interesting and striking and makes it one of the most widespread models.

Crank Sharpener

This type of pencil sharpener generally has mechanisms that fix it to tables or work desks. Inside the parts that compose it are the blades (which are usually two or three) in a cylindrical shape that rotate around the pencil by rotating a crank that drives the entire mechanism. The pencil is inserted through a hole located in the upper or lateral part, and a container that forms part of the body of the set collects the pencil shavings that are later dumped in the trash. Although the use of these sharpeners has been losing popularity in the face of hand-held sharpeners, they are still often found in offices, schools or other centers due to their quality and work efficiency.

Electric pencil sharpener

The principle of operation and form of it makes it very similar to that of cranks, the main difference is that they use an electric motor to drive the mechanism and with it other accessories such as switches, transformers or batteries .


Before pencil sharpeners made their appearance, knives, pocket knives, and many other types of cutting instruments were used to sharpen pencils. It was around 1909 that the Avanti mechanical pencil sharpener began to be marketed, patented by a factory based in Dresden. , Germany , seems to be the origin of the one developed by Johann Weiss that uses the brand “Jowei” extracted from his name. This sharpener used a crank that rotated an axis that fixed some blades at its tip, these passed through the edge of a hole into which the pencil was inserted and made cross-cuts, it was necessary to turn the pencil so that the cuts were produced in all directions sharpening the tip. In 1828French mathematician Bernard Lassimone applied for a patent for the pencil sharpener. This invention also used a crank, but the blades were cylindrical and rotated around the pencil. In 1847Therry des Estwaux invented manual pencil sharpeners, which have gained popularity to this day. Electric pencil sharpeners began to appear years later, however they do not have a very defined start because only one motor is added to existing models, although nowadays with technological advances they have changed a lot of aspect and have been more practical. Nowadays pencil sharpeners are made of different materials and different shapes, some are considered true works of art due to their beauty and color, it is also the case that they are included as other functions in pocket knives, key chains or school utensils such as rulers, compasses, markers, etc.


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