There may be a whole generation of young folks out there that have never had to use a pencil with an eraser. That's kinda sad when you think about it.
When I was still in school(back in the Dark Ages) wood pencils were the norm rather than the exception. Sure, there some kids that used the newer mechanical pencils, but they were not very common. I guess that my generation made a lot of mistakes because I remember places selling just the erasers without the pencils, know what I mean? Boy have things changed!
In 1770, the first version of the rubber eraser was sold by an English optician and engineer named Edward Nairne. Edward got his invention by accident—he meant to pick up bread crumbs to erase some pencil markings, as was common at the time, but his hands landed on a nearby piece of rubber. After he discovered how well it worked, Nairne began marketing and selling rubber cubes as erasers.
Later that year, coincidentally, British chemist Joseph Priestly made the same observation about rubber’s properties. It was Priestly who named the substance (previously simply referred to as “vegetable gum”) for its ability to rub out pencil marks.
Early versions of the rubber eraser were perishable and smelled foul. Charles Goodyear, the man most associated with rubber, solved both problems in 1839 by adding sulfur, a process he called “vulcanization.” Rubber erasers first found their way onto pencils in 1858, but the US denied Hymen L. Lipman a patent for the combination because it simply joined two existing inventions. Yet in the next decade, Lipman did indeed get a patent, and his Faber company started producing pencils with pink rubber ends.
Today, some rubber is still made from the latex of the rubber tree, Hevea Brasiliensis, but other types use synthetic materials like styrene and butadiene.
Man, I'm old enough to remember using a Big Chief tablet and a No. 2 pencil! You had to be careful on those tablets, because it seems to me that the paper was very easy to tear! Now I really feel old!
Coffee out on the patio this morning. Going to be in the 80s the rest of the week!