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Old 03-30-2016, 01:45 PM
Machine Elf Machine Elf is offline
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Challenger Deep
Posts: 10,623
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.