Pencils (Lat. penicillus, "a little tail"), are of unfathomable antiquity, dating from the first prehistoric man who traced a figure in the sand or scratched a likeness on a bone. The descent has been gradual, from the metal graver with which steel or stone was marked, or the characters impressed on Assyrian clay, through the stylus of the Roman, used upon wax tablets, to the latest invented patent pencil. The natives of China and Japan still employ brushes for painting their letters. Sticks of coloured earths or chalks, now generally known as crayons, probably preceded the pencil as we now know it. The best graphite for the making of pencils comes from Siberia and other parts of Russia, and an inferior quality is found in Austria, Prussia, Ceylon, and North America.