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Old 04-01-2016, 10:36 AM
Francis Vaughan Francis Vaughan is offline
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Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Adelaide, Australia
Posts: 4,611
Petroski does indeed touch on the difference in US and European use of erasers on the end of pencils. However he doesn't provide much additional information but to note the difference. He does provide a few quotes from earlier times discussing the merits and otherwise of the eraser equipped pencil. The design was not universally liked, and was often associated with cheap pencils.

Interestingly the patents for an eraser on a pencil were soon thrown out by the supreme court, as the union of the pencil and eraser didn't create a new device - one with new capability, merely union of two existing things - something that can't be patented.

One thing he notes - the ferrule became something of a branding device for US made pencils, whereas in Europe the finishing of the pencil with paint, with a rounded end was the vehicle for much branding.

Personally, I still like and use pencils, and have always had a dislike of erasers on the end.