Although the exact inventor of the pencil is unknown, Conrad Gesner is often credited with the invention. In 1565, Gesner was the first to document the use of graphite placed in a wooden shaft, which was the predecessor to modern pencils.
Born in 1516, Gesner studied theology, classical languages and medicine. In addition to practicing medicine, he taught ethics, natural philosophy and physics. Gesner was also a botanist and the author of a five-volume literary collection on the history of animals, which some consider the start of modern zoology. A genus of flowering plant and one of moths are both named after Gesner.