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Because graphite is soft, it requires some form of encasement.
Graphite sticks were initially wrapped in string or sheepskin for stability.
France was also unable to import the inferior German graphite pencil substitute.
English and German pencils were not available to the French during the Napoleonic Wars; France, under naval blockade imposed by Great Britain, was unable to import the pure graphite sticks from the British Grey Knotts mines – the only known source in the world.
The value of graphite would soon be realised to be enormous, mainly because it could be used to line the moulds for cannonballs; the mines were taken over by the Crown and were guarded.
When sufficient stores of graphite had been accumulated, the mines were flooded to prevent theft until more was required.
Coloured pencils are sometimes used by teachers or editors to correct submitted texts, but are typically regarded as art supplies, especially those with waxy core binders that tend to smear on paper instead of erasing.
Grease pencils have a softer, crayon-like waxy core that can leave marks on smooth surfaces such as glass or porcelain.