QI


Sherlock’s pencil 8

Sherlock - The sign of Three (Image © Hartswood Films / BBC Wales / WGBH)

Sherlock – The Sign of Three (Image © Hartswood Films / BBC Wales / WGBH)

Nice to see Sherlock Holmes using a pencil in “The Sign of Three“, the latest Sherlock episode.

The type of pencil he’s using was quite common in the early 20th century, when “seven daily deliveries of post meant it was perfectly possible to arrange and confirm an appointment in the evening by sending a postcard in the morning” (Lloyd and Mitchinson, 2010, p.303) [1]Lloyd, J. and Mitchinson, J., 2010. QI: The Second Book of General Ignorance. London: Faber and Faber..

Sherlock - The sign of Three (Image © Hartswood Films / BBC Wales / WGBH)

Sherlock – The Sign of Three (Image © Hartswood Films / BBC Wales / WGBH)

People secured these pencils to their clothes or belts using the attached chain. This meant they were always ready to write postcards, similar to our use of text messages today. Back then the receiver had to pay the postage, so the sender didn’t need to bother with that detail, which made sending short messages on postcards even easier.

Sherlock - The sign of Three (Image © Hartswood Films / BBC Wales / WGBH)

Sherlock – The Sign of Three (Image © Hartswood Films / BBC Wales / WGBH)


The screenshots in this blog post has been taken from episode 2 “The Sign of Three” of the third season of the BBC’s Sherlock. I believe that the use of the screenshots shown in this blog post falls under “fair dealing” as described by the UK Copyright service.

References

References
1Lloyd, J. and Mitchinson, J., 2010. QI: The Second Book of General Ignorance. London: Faber and Faber.