Thats why pencils have erasers!

To err is human, an eraser is divine!

We all make mistakes in general but when we are holding a pencil in our hand, we are superheros able to correct them and erase any of those errors away.

Make no mistake... April 15th is National Rubber Eraser Day celebrating the invention of erasers.

This day is so we can all recognise and appreciate the value of those little pink or white blobs that sit at the top of our pencils ready to be chewed.  Lets also not forget those articles of very important pieces of stationery used for removing writing from paper.

They come in a variety of shapes, sizes and colours and there is always a place in everyone’s memory to what was their favourite rubber or most prized rubber in days gone by when your pencil case was crammed full of things to barter with.

Some of life's greatest treasures are simple ones. These small pieces of moulded rubber are underappreciated but extremely handy tools when it comes to a quick fix of getting rid of something written in pencil or even in pen.

When we make a booboo or faux pax where would we be without the good old eraser? Just imagine how messy our documents would be without them!

So whats the story?

The first erasers were made of rubber. Today, they are made of rubber or vinyl.

In the world of erasers, there are two men that are prominent. Joseph Priestley discovered the eraser in 1770, using pieces of rubber imported from Brazil. Then in 1858, Hyman Lipman of Philadelphia patented the pencil with an eraser at the end.   It was later invalidated because it was deemed simply to be a composite of two devices rather than an entirely new product.

So how is it that pencil marks magically disappear when a rubber is applied to the paper?

The explanation is that the polymers that make up a rubber are stickier than the particles of paper so graphite particles from a pencil end up getting stuck to the eraser instead of the paper. A rubber is therefore almost like a sticky magnet.

Before erasers were invented, people used a rolled up piece of white bread to erase graphite. Edward Nairne (another name to remember) grabbed some rubber instead of bread by accident to erase something and then realised its ability. 

Pink erasers in particular make use of pulverized pumice (volcanic ash) to add abrasiveness.



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