The use of pencils dates back to ancient Rome when a stylus, a thin metal rod, was used. But it wasn't until this day in 1827 that the actual manufacturing of lead pencils began. Joseph Dixon, an inventor, established a factory in Salem, Massachusetts, and began producing lead pencils. Although the name implies otherwise, lead pencils are made of a nontoxic mineral called graphite. Pencils allow writers to write and revise essays, short stories, and other written works with ease.