Back in the Day
By: Emily J. Degen
Summer is winding down for us all and kids across the country are headed back to school. Most parents and grandparents are ecstatic about this! When I first thought about school starting back up, with no control I immediately imagined “When I was your age, I had to walk to school. . .” and of course, there’s a few different ways that can end. So, to kick off the new school year, I thought it might be fun to learn a few history facts as well as some world records. Here’s some I thought were interesting.
- The first, longest pencil ever created was in Germany in 2011 and measured 738 feet & 10 inches long! Once revealed, they used the pencil to write on paper in front of the notary (1) https://www.guinnessworldrecords.com/news/2012/9/top-10-back-to-school-records-44937. That was beat in 2017 when the 3,582 feet & 7.73-inch pencil was made by BIC in France to celebrate a factory opening. This pencil was bendable. (2) https://www.guinnessworldrecords.com/world-records/longest-pencil
- Speaking of pencils. . . did you know they have been yellow since the 1800’s!? In 1890, the company introduced a new line of pencils called Koh-I-Noor (brand). Most pencils during this time were painted darker colors or had no paint at all, so they decided to make them pop with a distinct yellow and claimed they were the best and most expensive on the market. Other companies eventually copied them. https://www.foodandsupplysource.com/6-fun-facts-educational-supplies/
- Bread was used as the first eraser! Literally, bread was just rolled up into a ball to erase mistakes until it became stale, and then a fresh piece was needed. What’s funnier, in 1770, Edward Narine picked up a piece of rubber instead of bread on accident and discovered how much better it worked. Over some years, scientists perfected the eraser we’re all used to today. https://www.foodandsupplysource.com/6-fun-facts-educational-supplies/
- I don’t know how Petra Engels from Germany feels about bread . . . but make no mistake, she clearly digs erasers! Since 1981, at the age of 9, she has collected 19,571 erasers from 112 different countries. Not one of them is a duplicate! As a child, she first developed the interest in a stationary shop and eventually started receiving them at home as “treats” instead of chocolate. Today, her erasers are displayed in 22 show-case windows, and a cupboard with 12 drawers. https://www.guinnessworldrecords.com/news/2012/9/top-10-back-to-school-records-44937
- The best for last! The oldest person to enroll in elementary school was 84 years young! Kimani Ng’ang’a Maruge started going to school in East Africa on January 12th, 2004. The first set of school exams he took were passed with straight A’s, making him one of the top five students in his class. Kimani had 30 grandchildren and was enrolled alongside 2 of them. It was told that the 2 main reasons for his late education (that had recently become free), was to learn how to count money and to learn how to read the Bible. Though he passed away in 2009 at 90 years old, his passion & fight for learning inspired people of all ages around the world. https://www.guinnessworldrecords.com/world-records/oldest-person-to-begin-primary-school
Hope you learned something new here, and cheers to the 2022-2023 school year for all!