[L. penicillus, a small tail or brush.] A pointedstrip of black lead, colored chalk, or slate, usually enclosed in a slight rod of wood, for drawing and writing ; but the term is also applied to small hair brushes used by artists, and it was to these that the name was originally given. The best lead pencils are now made in the United States, the purest black lead or plumbago being found there. The wood used for pencils is invariably that of the Virginia or Florida cedar. Colored pencils are prepared by the use of various chalks instead of graphite. The chalk is reduced to powder, mixed with a little hot melted wax, and then pressed and cut into 6trips of the size required. Slate pencils are thin strips of slate cut out and afterwards rounded. The strips are sometimes cut very thin and put into wood casings like lead pencils.