Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 03-30-2016, 06:37 AM
kayT kayT is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jul 1999
Location: Austin
Posts: 4,480
Erasers on pencils

Not sure if this is really a GQ but we'll try it here. Today's Writer's Almanac had the following:
On this day in 1858, Hymen Lipman of Philadelphia patented the first pencil to have an attached eraser. The eraser-tipped pencil is still something of an American phenomenon; most European pencils are still eraserless.
Can this be true? With an eraser on the pencil being so handy, so logical, could it be the case that Europeans are willing to forego this and instead search all over the house for an eraser? Or do Europeans not make mistakes? EuroDopers, please explain.
Advertisements  
  #2  
Old 03-30-2016, 06:43 AM
Nava Nava is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Hey! I'm located! WOOOOW!
Posts: 36,370
Erasers do come in some mechanical pencils (usually imported from cheap sources) but yes, they are rarely found at the end of pencils.

Why? Dunnow, because. I never found American erasers any good anyway, it's one of the small items I used to bring over (don't like the sharpeners either, give me my trusty all-steel one any day). They're very hard and don't erase very well, Milan's work better (I like their miga de pan model). And I "don't search all over the house": when I was in school I had a little bag where my pens, eraser, pencils and sharpener lived, and now the ones at home live in a small vase and those at work in a little bag similar to those I would take to school. Basic model from one of those firms which make marketing items.

Last edited by Nava; 03-30-2016 at 06:48 AM.
  #3  
Old 03-30-2016, 07:37 AM
jtur88 jtur88 is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Cebu, Philippines
Posts: 12,796
I have found that the material now used for pencil-tip erasers degrades so quickly, that they are no longer useful by the time I buy the pencil at a retail store. Which means a pencil with an eraser is no better than one without. I buy a separate eraser, made of better quality material, and keep it handy.

The alternative is to buy much more expensive pencils, which is less cost-effective than using cheaper pencils and a detached eraser.

Last edited by jtur88; 03-30-2016 at 07:40 AM.
  #4  
Old 03-30-2016, 07:43 AM
TwoCarrotSnowman TwoCarrotSnowman is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2013
Location: West Yorks, UK
Posts: 413
In the UK, promotional pencils found in attraction gift shops, bearing slogans such as "I Heart World of Cheese" tend to have erasers on the end. Most mechanical pencils I've used do as well - the little plug which stops up the tube where you load the leads tends be an eraser.
  #5  
Old 03-30-2016, 07:54 AM
Ludovic Ludovic is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2000
Location: America's Wing
Posts: 26,881
Quote:
Originally Posted by jtur88 View Post
I have found that the material now used for pencil-tip erasers degrades so quickly, that they are no longer useful by the time I buy the pencil at a retail store. Which means a pencil with an eraser is no better than one without.
I've found something similar, that pencil erasers do not actually erase these days. Far from being degraded, they are some sort of ultrahard rubber that builds up a layer of graphite on its tip and then smears it all over the paper.
  #6  
Old 03-30-2016, 08:40 AM
ThelmaLou ThelmaLou is offline
Member
 
Join Date: May 2010
Location: Texas
Posts: 11,083
Quote:
Originally Posted by TwoCarrotSnowman View Post
In the UK, promotional pencils found in attraction gift shops, bearing slogans such as "I Heart World of Cheese" tend to have erasers on the end. ....
Who else read that and thought, "Those pencils should have a bit of cheese on the end"?
  #7  
Old 03-30-2016, 09:30 AM
Tim R. Mortiss Tim R. Mortiss is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: Lincoln Park, Chicago
Posts: 6,008
Yeah, I've always found it ironic that the pencil part of a pencil will last for decades without degrading, but the eraser is usually fossilized long before the first time I try to use it. Too bad all our scientists are wasting their time looking for cures for cancer and such. Nobody is working on the real problems of the world!
  #8  
Old 03-30-2016, 10:11 AM
racer72 racer72 is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Auburn, WA
Posts: 6,010
Pencils with erasers make better desk top drum sticks than those without.
  #9  
Old 03-30-2016, 12:15 PM
scr4 scr4 is online now
Member
 
Join Date: Aug 1999
Location: Alabama
Posts: 13,814
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ludovic View Post
I've found something similar, that pencil erasers do not actually erase these days. Far from being degraded, they are some sort of ultrahard rubber that builds up a layer of graphite on its tip and then smears it all over the paper.
It's an engineering conundrum. An eraser on the end of the pencil needs to be same (or similar) diameter as the pencil itself, and short enough that it won't break off when you use it. So the size of the eraser is severely limited. If you use a soft eraser, it will erase well, but it'll be used up or broken off long before the pencil is used up. If you use a very hard eraser, it won't erase very well.

I grew up in Japan, and pencils there don't have erasers either. I still carry a good eraser rather (and have several at home and office) than put up with the poor quality one on American pencils.
  #10  
Old 03-30-2016, 12:18 PM
Mangetout Mangetout is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: May 2001
Location: England
Posts: 56,554
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ludovic View Post
I've found something similar, that pencil erasers do not actually erase these days. Far from being degraded, they are some sort of ultrahard rubber that builds up a layer of graphite on its tip and then smears it all over the paper.
I think that might be what jtur88 actually meant by 'degrade' - the rubber dries out or continues curing after manufacture, or something.
  #11  
Old 03-30-2016, 12:30 PM
jtur88 jtur88 is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Cebu, Philippines
Posts: 12,796
Before I buy a box of a dozen pencils, now, I open the box and test the eraser for freshness before I buy. Good ones usually perform fairly decently.

An interesting factoid about Rubber. When the material from the tropical tree came back to England as a curiosity, no useful purpose was found for it except to "rub out" pencil marks, so it was called Rubber -- and still is.
  #12  
Old 03-30-2016, 12:39 PM
CookingWithGas CookingWithGas is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Mar 1999
Location: Tysons Corner, VA, USA
Posts: 11,441
Quote:
Originally Posted by jtur88 View Post
An interesting factoid about Rubber. When the material from the tropical tree came back to England as a curiosity, no useful purpose was found for it except to "rub out" pencil marks, so it was called Rubber -- and still is.
And erasers are still called "rubbers" in England. When the English visit the U.S. hilarity ensues.

True story: English family visits NYC. They pass by an adult sex toy store. Sign in the window: "We have rubbers of all shapes and sizes." Little girl says, "Oh, I want one in the shape of the Statue of LIberty!"
  #13  
Old 03-30-2016, 12:58 PM
missred missred is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Just east of Music City
Posts: 5,596
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nava View Post
Erasers do come in some mechanical pencils (usually imported from cheap sources) but yes, they are rarely found at the end of pencils.

Why? Dunnow, because. I never found American erasers any good anyway, it's one of the small items I used to bring over (don't like the sharpeners either, give me my trusty all-steel one any day). They're very hard and don't erase very well, Milan's work better (I like their miga de pan model). And I "don't search all over the house": when I was in school I had a little bag where my pens, eraser, pencils and sharpener lived, and now the ones at home live in a small vase and those at work in a little bag similar to those I would take to school. Basic model from one of those firms which make marketing items.
That's the kind of bag I use for my sketching pencils (with no eraser on the top) and erasers.

It's been a long time since I have purchased anything but mechanical pencils for uses other than sketching. With those, you can buy refillable erasers at the same store where you buy the leads.
  #14  
Old 03-30-2016, 01:07 PM
Ignotus Ignotus is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 2012
Posts: 967
You can get pencils with erasers in any store in Sweden, but the ones (sparingly) handed out to us kids in elementary school by our teachers 40 years ago didn't have them. Instead, we also got an eraser, about as useful as a piece of brick, and a plastic pencil shaft, so that the pencil could be used down to the last inch.
Pencils must have been really expensive back then...
  #15  
Old 03-30-2016, 01:27 PM
Mops Mops is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Germany
Posts: 2,774
A small part of pencils that I see sold here in Germany have erasers, and as others have noted the erasers are pretty useless.
  #16  
Old 03-30-2016, 01:45 PM
Machine Elf Machine Elf is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Challenger Deep
Posts: 10,251
Quote:
Originally Posted by scr4 View Post
It's an engineering conundrum. An eraser on the end of the pencil needs to be same (or similar) diameter as the pencil itself, and short enough that it won't break off when you use it. So the size of the eraser is severely limited. If you use a soft eraser, it will erase well, but it'll be used up or broken off long before the pencil is used up. If you use a very hard eraser, it won't erase very well.

I grew up in Japan, and pencils there don't have erasers either. I still carry a good eraser rather (and have several at home and office) than put up with the poor quality one on American pencils.
I've always hated conventional graphite-core wooden pencils anyway. I placed a high value on sharp lines and small-but clear writing, and those pencils got too dull too quickly, necessitating frequent sharpening - and each time you broke the tip, you had no choice but to resharpen. In high school (back in the '80s), I switched over to mechanical pencils and never had to worry about sharpening again.

In college, I discovered that there were kickass quality erasers available, like this one. It contains an eraser as long and narrow as a pencil, and exposes just enough to use while providing good solid support for the rest of it so it doesn't flop all over the place. And the compound that made up the eraser was great: it erased well, and wasn't full of the same coarse abrasive as conventional pencil-top pink erasers that tended to shred your paper.

Staedtler is the manufacturer of the eraser I linked to. it may be of interest to note that Staedler is a long-lived German company; on their Wikipedia page, the first image is of conventional wooden pencils - with no eraser on top.
  #17  
Old 03-30-2016, 06:38 PM
Kropotkin Kropotkin is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jun 2014
Location: North
Posts: 566
The Blackwing pencils re-introduced by Palomino have replaceable erasers. The pencils come in 3 hardnesses and the erasers come in different colours so you can mix and match.
  #18  
Old 03-30-2016, 06:42 PM
kayT kayT is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jul 1999
Location: Austin
Posts: 4,480
I appreciate the information. I personally find that as a whole, erasers don't work very well, separate or included, with the exception of that Staedter Machine Elf linked to, and the only one of those I ever had I lost. So I'd rather have a pencil with an eraser, since it may not work well but at least it's handy.
  #19  
Old 03-30-2016, 08:33 PM
Ignatz Ignatz is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 5,460
Dixon Ticonderoga graphite pencils

"In 1827, Joseph Dixon" (of Marblehead, Mass.) "began his" (pencil factory) "business in Salem, Massachusetts and, with his son, was involved with the Tantiusques graphite mine in Sturbridge, Massachusetts. Dixon discovered the merits of graphite as a stove polish and an additive in lubricants, foundry facings, brake linings, oil-less bearings, and non-corrosive paints."

says Wikipedia.


I can't believe that he waited 31 years to attach the eraser (with a green crimper). Maybe he didn't patent it.
  #20  
Old 03-30-2016, 09:56 PM
lynne-42 lynne-42 is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: Castlemaine, Australia
Posts: 823
In Australia we can get both - pencils with or without erasers. I always choose without for the reasons others have commented - the quality of the eraser. As I have a stationery fetish (as do many others, I gather) I carry a variety of pencils, erasers and a sharpener - and a variety of the newest and greatest - erasable pens. They have 'erasers' on the end, but are friction erasers and don't wear out.

Never again will I use a normal pen / biro.
  #21  
Old 03-30-2016, 09:59 PM
Acsenray Acsenray is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: U.S.A.
Posts: 32,809
I don't use the eraser on the back of the pencil often but it would be too strange for it to be absent.
  #22  
Old 03-30-2016, 10:07 PM
Bullitt Bullitt is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: SF Giants Nation 10-12-14
Posts: 21,356
Math major here, many erasures in my day.

Staedtler Mars plastic erasers are by far the best, IME.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Machine Elf View Post
In college, I discovered that there were kickass quality erasers available, like this one.
Yes I actually carry this with me and my mechanical pencil.

Those, or the little rectangular block ones. https://www.google.com/search?q=stae...plastic+eraser It's the eraser material that counts, not the shape, and these are the best. Other pink erasers can easily wear away the paper, especially with multiple erasures at the same spot.

Oh and I also used an eraser shield to protect my work aroung the mistake. Here are images: https://www.google.com/search?q=eras...w=1024&bih=672. They are very thin metal.

Last edited by Bullitt; 03-30-2016 at 10:08 PM.
  #23  
Old 03-31-2016, 07:22 AM
kayT kayT is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jul 1999
Location: Austin
Posts: 4,480
Quote:
Originally Posted by lynne-42 View Post
In Australia we can get both - pencils with or without erasers. I always choose without for the reasons others have commented - the quality of the eraser. As I have a stationery fetish (as do many others, I gather) I carry a variety of pencils, erasers and a sharpener - and a variety of the newest and greatest - erasable pens. They have 'erasers' on the end, but are friction erasers and don't wear out.

Never again will I use a normal pen / biro.
What's a "friction eraser" and why can't it be used for pencil if it doesn't wear out? Sounds like the answer to a prayer!
  #24  
Old 03-31-2016, 07:41 AM
SanVito SanVito is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: The Big Smoke
Posts: 3,806
Where is this unified nation of 'Europe' of which you speak?

I am sat here, in my British office, using a pencil with an eraser (rubber) as we debate. And the rubber is, indeed, smudging my sketches.
  #25  
Old 03-31-2016, 07:52 AM
lynne-42 lynne-42 is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: Castlemaine, Australia
Posts: 823
Quote:
Originally Posted by kayT View Post
What's a "friction eraser" and why can't it be used for pencil if it doesn't wear out? Sounds like the answer to a prayer!
It uses heat and turns the ink into 'invisible' ink - nothing is 'rubbed' out.

http://www.pilotpen.com.au/writing-i...l-erasable-pen

I ought to be paid by their marketing team I've converted so many people to these things, but have no association except parting with my hard-earned cash. Oh, and giving away nearly all my un-erasable pens. I have kept a few for forms and documents which have to be permanently marked.

I am an author and sign books. I always had an overwhelming fear of making a mistake in the name or message on a book a reader has just purchased. These pens are heaven for me.

Last edited by lynne-42; 03-31-2016 at 07:53 AM.
  #26  
Old 03-31-2016, 07:57 AM
PatrickLondon PatrickLondon is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2015
Location: London
Posts: 2,094
Quote:
Originally Posted by kayT View Post
Can this be true? With an eraser on the pencil being so handy, so logical, could it be the case that Europeans are willing to forego this and instead search all over the house for an eraser? Or do Europeans not make mistakes? EuroDopers, please explain.
I've seen plenty of pencils with (UK usage coming up for your amusement) a rubber on the end. I have one by my notepad at the moment, which came as part of a promotional pack at a sales fair I went to.

On the other hand, pencils are relatively rare nowadays. If you want to write something down - as opposed to typing into a smartphone or computer - you usually expect to find a ballpoint pen.

I have no idea as to the actual statistics. My guess is that pencils aimed at the artist market won't have an eraser on the end, and IME serious archives and some libraries may (a) insist on people using pencils on the premises rather than pens and (b) ban erasers in case the library's own materials are more damaged by them than they are by any marginal notes some fool makes. But pencils in the ordinary stationery shops or in schools and offices are quite likely to have the built-in rubber (hohoho).
  #27  
Old 03-31-2016, 08:08 AM
Bullitt Bullitt is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: SF Giants Nation 10-12-14
Posts: 21,356
Quote:
Originally Posted by lynne-42 View Post
It uses heat and turns the ink into 'invisible' ink - nothing is 'rubbed' out.

http://www.pilotpen.com.au/writing-i...l-erasable-pen

I ought to be paid by their marketing team I've converted so many people to these things, but have no association except parting with my hard-earned cash. Oh, and giving away nearly all my un-erasable pens. I have kept a few for forms and documents which have to be permanently marked.

I am an author and sign books. I always had an overwhelming fear of making a mistake in the name or message on a book a reader has just purchased. These pens are heaven for me.
They also make erasable highlighters?! Never heard of such a thing before.

http://pilotpen.us/categories/frixio...able-ink-pens/

Great. Now I may be wanting one. Of each. Great, that's all I need, more pens / pencils / highlighters to feed my fetish. Gee thanks.

ETA: and with rubbers on them.

Last edited by Bullitt; 03-31-2016 at 08:09 AM.
  #28  
Old 03-31-2016, 08:09 AM
puzzlegal puzzlegal is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 2014
Posts: 2,491
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ignatz View Post
Dixon Ticonderoga graphite pencils

"In 1827, Joseph Dixon" (of Marblehead, Mass.) "began his" (pencil factory) "business in Salem, Massachusetts and, with his son, was involved with the Tantiusques graphite mine in Sturbridge, Massachusetts. Dixon discovered the merits of graphite as a stove polish and an additive in lubricants, foundry facings, brake linings, oil-less bearings, and non-corrosive paints."

says Wikipedia.


I can't believe that he waited 31 years to attach the eraser (with a green crimper). Maybe he didn't patent it.
And Dixon Ticonderoga pencils still come with good, usable erasers on the end. Most cheap brands (like CVS, or the promotional ones) don't -- the erasers are often worse than useless, just smearing the graphite around.

Dixon Ticonderoga pencils also work very well as pencils, with smooth lead of perfectly even hardness, that doesn't break too easily. They are my preferred brand.

I like traditional pencils over mechanical ones. The very fine mechanical pencil leads seem to break too easily and too often. I can sharpen a good wooden pencil to be sharper than a fine-tip lead, and still write with it. and I can instantly change the angle of the pencil and get a slightly heavier line, or shade in lightly with a much wider writing surface, and then change the angle back and instantly get a fine writing tip again. A good traditional wooden pencil is a thing of beauty and a joy to use.
  #29  
Old 03-31-2016, 09:19 AM
iceiso iceiso is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 2015
Posts: 133
Erasers? You mean, shock absorbers for when the pencil rolls off the desk?
  #30  
Old 03-31-2016, 09:46 AM
troub troub is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 2000
Location: St. Louis, MO
Posts: 1,524
Quote:
Originally Posted by Machine Elf View Post
it may be of interest to note that Staedler is a long-lived German company; on their Wikipedia page, the first image is of conventional wooden pencils - with no eraser on top.
...but a fake one painted on!
  #31  
Old 03-31-2016, 02:34 PM
suranyi suranyi is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2000
Posts: 7,405
I use pencils with erasers on the end all the time when working on crossword puzzles. Very convenient. Sure the erasers aren't the best, but they get the job done when I make a mistake. It's only for my amusement anyway and it beats having to get up from my recliner and look for a real eraser.
  #32  
Old 03-31-2016, 06:06 PM
lynne-42 lynne-42 is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: Castlemaine, Australia
Posts: 823
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bullitt View Post
They also make erasable highlighters?! Never heard of such a thing before.

http://pilotpen.us/categories/frixio...able-ink-pens/

Great. Now I may be wanting one. Of each. Great, that's all I need, more pens / pencils / highlighters to feed my fetish. Gee thanks.
My pleasure. Lovely to meet a fellow stationery fetisher (no idea what the correct word is). I'd forgotten the highlighters. They're wonderful too.

Only one of each? Tut. Tut. I have them in my study, handbag, next to the lounge chair where I read ...
  #33  
Old 03-31-2016, 06:39 PM
Bullitt Bullitt is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: SF Giants Nation 10-12-14
Posts: 21,356
stop it!! Stop it!!
  #34  
Old 03-31-2016, 06:46 PM
lynne-42 lynne-42 is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: Castlemaine, Australia
Posts: 823
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bullitt View Post
stop it!! Stop it!!
No!
  #35  
Old 04-01-2016, 12:38 AM
Nava Nava is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Hey! I'm located! WOOOOW!
Posts: 36,370
Don't open this...

SPOILER:
Caran D'Ache



Hey, I've been good and not posted a link!
  #36  
Old 04-01-2016, 12:58 AM
lynne-42 lynne-42 is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: Castlemaine, Australia
Posts: 823
Interesting reference to fancy pens, Nava. I'd be interested to know if the others with stationery fetishes are willing to pay those prices (took me a while to actually see the numbers). My fetish doesn't worry about the actual brand. I just want pencils and pens and erasers and sharpeners and fresh clean paper in a whole variety of forms, especially 5 mm grid. I can't work on anything other than 5 mm grid for daily work. Then lovely blank books and ...
  #37  
Old 04-01-2016, 01:07 AM
Francis Vaughan Francis Vaughan is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Adelaide, Australia
Posts: 4,550
Heh, I have a Caran D'Ache fountain pen. It is lovely. It is my main writing implement.

I an surprised no-one has mentioned Henry Petroski's seminal work The Pencil.

Everyone should read at least one of his books. To Engineer is Human is perhaps the key one, but The Pencil is a wonderful read. Probably answers the OP's question. (My copy is at home, I might try to find it in the mire later.)
  #38  
Old 04-01-2016, 01:44 AM
lynne-42 lynne-42 is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: Castlemaine, Australia
Posts: 823
Now, a very nice fountain pen - ah that's tempting. Very tempting. I might have to leave this conversation before the budget dissolves. And a book all about pencils. Oh dear. KayT, you've really caused problems now with your OP.
  #39  
Old 04-01-2016, 03:11 AM
Nava Nava is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Hey! I'm located! WOOOOW!
Posts: 36,370
Quote:
Originally Posted by lynne-42 View Post
Interesting reference to fancy pens, Nava. I'd be interested to know if the others with stationery fetishes are willing to pay those prices (took me a while to actually see the numbers). My fetish doesn't worry about the actual brand. I just want pencils and pens and erasers and sharpeners and fresh clean paper in a whole variety of forms, especially 5 mm grid. I can't work on anything other than 5 mm grid for daily work. Then lovely blank books and ...
Oh, it's not a matter of brand... The pencils those guys are most famous for are watercolors. You can use them dry (and they behave like any other color pencil) or wet (and they behave like a watercolor thin-to-medium brush depending on angle and pressure). I find that paintbrushes tend to be too thin for my fingers (and that's with tiny hands!), these pencils are very nice to hold.

I gave myself a box a couple of years ago as a self-present, after decades of carefully not drooling over them in stores. One of the Spanish expressions for utter happiness is "as happy as an idiot with a box of Alpinos": I don't know if I'm an idiot, but I love all those colored sticks... is it bad, if you'd rather get colored sticks than flowers?

Last edited by Nava; 04-01-2016 at 03:15 AM.
  #40  
Old 04-01-2016, 05:34 AM
PatrickLondon PatrickLondon is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2015
Location: London
Posts: 2,094
Enthusiasts should not miss:

http://www.pencilmuseum.co.uk/
  #41  
Old 04-01-2016, 09:36 AM
Francis Vaughan Francis Vaughan is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Adelaide, Australia
Posts: 4,550
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.
  #42  
Old 04-01-2016, 09:56 PM
lynne-42 lynne-42 is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: Castlemaine, Australia
Posts: 823
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nava View Post
Oh, it's not a matter of brand... The pencils those guys are most famous for are watercolors. You can use them dry (and they behave like any other color pencil) or wet (and they behave like a watercolor thin-to-medium brush depending on angle and pressure). I find that paintbrushes tend to be too thin for my fingers (and that's with tiny hands!), these pencils are very nice to hold.

I gave myself a box a couple of years ago as a self-present, after decades of carefully not drooling over them in stores. One of the Spanish expressions for utter happiness is "as happy as an idiot with a box of Alpinos": I don't know if I'm an idiot, but I love all those colored sticks... is it bad, if you'd rather get colored sticks than flowers?
Oh dear. The budget just gave up, and walked out the door crying. I shall investigate further (the pencils, not the budget).
  #43  
Old 04-01-2016, 09:59 PM
lynne-42 lynne-42 is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: Castlemaine, Australia
Posts: 823
Quote:
Originally Posted by PatrickLondon View Post
Enthusiasts should not miss:

http://www.pencilmuseum.co.uk/
And then there are pencil sculptures:

http://www.visualnews.com/2012/10/30/pencil-sculptures/
  #44  
Old 04-02-2016, 12:54 AM
Siam Sam Siam Sam is offline
Elephant Whisperer
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Honolulu, Hawaii
Posts: 38,109
Who would name their kid Hymen?
  #45  
Old 04-02-2016, 08:28 AM
Green Bean Green Bean is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2000
Location: NJ, Exit #137
Posts: 11,840
Quote:
Originally Posted by lynne-42 View Post
Now, a very nice fountain pen - ah that's tempting. Very tempting. I might have to leave this conversation before the budget dissolves. And a book all about pencils. Oh dear. KayT, you've really caused problems now with your OP.
Pssh. You don't need pay that much to get a nice fountain pen. Get yourself a Pilot Metropolitan. 15 bucks, and behaves like somethng much more expensive.

(Which is not to say rhe expensive ones aren't worth it too!)


Seconding the recommendations for Henry Petroski, Dixon Ticonderogas, and whie plasticky erasers. One can use both types, you know!
  #46  
Old 04-02-2016, 08:36 AM
UncleFred UncleFred is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 752
Quote:
Originally Posted by Francis Vaughan View Post
Heh, I have a Caran D'Ache fountain pen. It is lovely. It is my main writing implement.

I an surprised no-one has mentioned Henry Petroski's seminal work The Pencil.

Everyone should read at least one of his books. To Engineer is Human is perhaps the key one, but The Pencil is a wonderful read. Probably answers the OP's question. (My copy is at home, I might try to find it in the mire later.)
I have maybe a half-dozen of his books, including "The Pencil". He has an amazing ability to take an obscure but mildly interesting topic and make it truly dull. Really. You've got to struggle through his writing style to get the satisfaction of the content. Still, I did buy all those books, which is what probably counts.

Last edited by UncleFred; 04-02-2016 at 08:37 AM.
  #47  
Old 04-02-2016, 08:45 AM
UncleFred UncleFred is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 752
Quote:
Originally Posted by lynne-42 View Post
My pleasure. Lovely to meet a fellow stationery fetisher (no idea what the correct word is). I'd forgotten the highlighters. They're wonderful too.

Only one of each? Tut. Tut. I have them in my study, handbag, next to the lounge chair where I read ...
Stationery Fetishists - You may wish to checkout the books of James Ward (Motto - "I like boring things") including "Adventures in Stationery", "The Perfection of the Paperclip" and more at his blog

http://iamjamesward.com/
  #48  
Old 04-02-2016, 08:51 AM
UncleFred UncleFred is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 752
Quote:
Originally Posted by kayT View Post
Not sure if this is really a GQ but we'll try it here. Today's Writer's Almanac had the following:
On this day in 1858, Hymen Lipman of Philadelphia patented the first pencil to have an attached eraser. The eraser-tipped pencil is still something of an American phenomenon; most European pencils are still eraserless.
eraser? Or do Europeans not make mistakes? EuroDopers, please explain.
Coming at this from a different angle, I am amazed that he was able to get a patent. I've been involved with patents for years (got 6 of them) and one rule is something like "You can't patent sticking two existing things together unless it introduce some new feature or function (other than the convenience of having them in the same place.) The oft-given example is "You can't patent sticking an eraser on a pencil" although that would seem to be untrue. Perhaps the rules for patent were more lenient back then.
  #49  
Old 04-02-2016, 09:11 AM
Francis Vaughan Francis Vaughan is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Adelaide, Australia
Posts: 4,550
Quote:
Originally Posted by UncleFred View Post
...The oft-given example is "You can't patent sticking an eraser on a pencil" although that would seem to be untrue. Perhaps the rules for patent were more lenient back then.
As I noted above, the patent was overturned for just this reason a couple of years later.

It seems that the laxness of the patent office has never changed, and unpatentable things are allowed patents all the time, and remain so patented until a legal challenge points a spotlight on them.
  #50  
Old 04-02-2016, 09:29 AM
lynne-42 lynne-42 is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: Castlemaine, Australia
Posts: 823
Quote:
Originally Posted by UncleFred View Post
Stationery Fetishists - You may wish to checkout the books of James Ward (Motto - "I like boring things") including "Adventures in Stationery", "The Perfection of the Paperclip" and more at his blog

http://iamjamesward.com/
Thank you. How intriguing - I've only looked at "Adventures in Stationery" so far. So don't Americans use the term "stationery" or use pencil cases? Just the blog ad for it has been illuminating.
Reply

Bookmarks

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 11:02 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

Send questions for Cecil Adams to: cecil@chicagoreader.com

Send comments about this website to: webmaster@straightdope.com

Terms of Use / Privacy Policy

Advertise on the Straight Dope!
(Your direct line to thousands of the smartest, hippest people on the planet, plus a few total dipsticks.)

Publishers - interested in subscribing to the Straight Dope?
Write to: sdsubscriptions@chicagoreader.com.

Copyright 2017 Sun-Times Media, LLC.

 
Copyright © 2017