The Student Newspaper of Paint Branch High School


The Student Newspaper of Paint Branch High School


The Student Newspaper of Paint Branch High School


Pen vs. Pencil: Which One is Better?

Pens, in one form or another, have been used to write since 3200 BC, and throughout that time, one thing has remained the same: the inconvenience. From bamboo reeds to swan feathers to fountain pens, pens have mainly used permanent ink which may be good for legal documents, grading, and other important papers due to their permanence, but they cannot escape their inconvenience.  

That is why, for everyday practicality, nothing beats a simple pencil.

According to Andrew Wilson of Executive Pens Direct, pens were first used in the form of bamboo reeds to carve and eventually evolved into the reed styli when used with ink. Then, quills made from goose or swan feathers became a cheaper and more available option, contributing to the endangerment of those birds until 1884, when Lewis Waterman started mass production of fountain pens. Years later, in October of 1945, the first ballpoint pens were sold by Gimbels department store in New York City. While erasable pens were released by Paper Mate in 1979 using liquid rubber cement as ink, they only gained popularity for a short time since they were only erasable for about ten hours and smudged easily. 

Of course, due to technology, especially phones and computers, pen use has subsided. Despite this decline in pen usage today compared to the 1950s and ’60s, pens still negatively impact our world. As written by Earth911, “Americans toss 1.6 billion disposable pens annually. These plastic pens end up in landfills and as litter. Some of this plastic waste reaches our waterways, breaking down into microplastics, polluting our water, and harming ocean life.”

While pens became popular and remain widely used, pencils predate them and are far more practical and better for the world. As written by, pencils started as graphite sticks wrapped in string. Later, graphite was inserted into hollowed-out wood to form wood-encased pencils. adds that since the 1890’s, some wood-encased pencils were painted yellow to signify that they came from China since that was where the best graphite came from.

Humans are prone to making mistakes, so it should be easy to erase them. While erasable pens exist, they have not been perfected. Ultimately, only pencils allow you to truly correct your mistakes. Pencils can erase the mistakes you make in your work and allow you to try again because everyone deserves another chance.

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About the Contributor
Efratha Tewodros, Staff Writer & Senior Pages Editor
When asked to describe what it is like to attend Paint Branch, ninth-grader Efratha Tewodros states “big and crowded.” She adds that it is also busy and everyone rushes. As a student who is fresh out of middle school, she immediately saw the busy and hectic nature of Paint Branch. Efratha came to PB from White Oak Middle School and enjoys hiking, which she calls her favorite outdoor activity. Additionally, she calls spring her favorite season because “it's not too hot or too cold.” Efratha enjoys watching TV and movies. In fact, her favorite movie is Coraline, which she says she enjoys because it is moderately scary. As for what she means by moderately scary, she says ¨it's scary but not too scary.” A favorite show of hers is Never Have I Ever because ¨it's relatable and it's based on high school.¨ One book she has read that she remembers well is a touching book called Wonder, which stood out to her because ¨it shows a whole new point of view.¨

She enrolled in Journalism because she was interested in this course and felt that there would be more freedom in her writing. As for when she grows up, Efratha wants to be a doctor because she ¨likes to help people."

By: Damion Tatum

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