The history of erasers date back to its discovery by Edward Nairne in 1770. He used raw rubber and began selling the squares in Europe. In 1839 Charles Goodyear created the process that turns raw rubber into a durable material that didn’t degrade or rot. The price of erasers went down significantly and they became a common tool in every child’s school desk.
You remember these guys. The rectangle-shaped, hot pink eraser that could get rid of a whole poster board’s worth of mistakes. You’ll also find this guy on the top of a good old number 2 pencil. He’s not as good at removing the whole pencil mark and can sometimes leave behind smears that just won’t go away. The pink eraser is made with pumice and can therefore wear through the paper during a vigorous attempt to remove pencil marks, as many students learned the hard way in class. A pink eraser can also harden over time and loose its effectiveness. There’s no nutritional value in a pink eraser so chewing on the end of a pencil should be discouraged.
If you are into pencil sketching or just make a whole lot of mistakes, then you’ll want to use a gum eraser. This type of eraser is made from a very soft gum. You can use it to erase a whole sheet of doodles without damaging the paper. There are no abrasives in the eraser’s composition. It will crumble as it is used so you’ll have a lot of eraser flecks on the sheet that will need to be brushed away. There are specialty art brushes made just for the purpose of removing eraser residue without smudging the remaining pencil marks on the page. Sometimes, when you use your hand to brush stuff away, the lead will smear or blur, so it’s a good idea to invest in one of these brushes.
The above erasers are traditional tools for school work or art work but there’s a new kid on the block. The Japanese eraser is as much of a collectable toy as it is a functional tool. Made from non-toxic rubber, these food-shaped erasers are fun for kids of every age.
The food selection is over-the-top, including everything from squash and tomatoes to ice cream and sushi. Branching out from the food area there are animal, fish, bugs, golf clubs, bowling balls and pins, trucks, cars, trains, office supplies, dental tools and even Japanese doll sets. You’ll also find eraser puzzle sets.
These come apart and fit back together in a certain order to form a puzzle. The craze is taking off. Kids are buying an eraser to start a collection. Will there one day be eraser collectors like those who collect old lunch boxes? Is this the next Beanie Baby craze to hit the Nation? Only time will tell but in the meantime, these little erasers are popping up in schools, backpacks, cubicles and toy rooms.