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Eraser Head

Must have had too much coffee today; a strange thought came into my head: did the pencil eraser come before the pencil? I’ve done absolutely no research about this … everything that follows came straight out of my head this afternoon.

What is the pencil’s USP? It was probably known that graphite left pleasing marks on appropriate surfaces, maybe it was even used by artists, but I’m sure it wasn’t manufactured into a thin tube inside a supporting wooden arrangement deliberately fashioned as a writing implement.  Why bother, we had pens, quills etc. Mankind had been “writing” for hundreds of years using ink or similar, so what did a pencil bring to the party, as I asked earlier; what was its unique selling point? Well, of course, it could be rubbed out, it could be erased and replaced with new, almost (and in some cases, completely) leaving no trace of the original.  To achieve this it had to have already been established that rubber erased the graphite markings. So therefore the eraser had to have been invented before the pencil. QED

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