Trefoil News

The evolution of the Eraser


Have you ever wondered how the eraser came about? In 1770, Edward Nairne, an English engineer, developed the eraser for an inventions competition, which happened to be an accident. This was such a big hit that it became widely marketed. The eraser comes in many shapes, sizes, and even types.

To name a few the “Art gum eraser” which is commonly soft and coarse is preferably used to avoid damage to the paper. The “Kneaded eraser” or “Putty rubber was developed to remove graphite or charcoal from a surface by absorbing the charcoal and graphite.

Thankfully when we make a mistake we do not have to use bread anymore, which the original erasers were made from. Erasers have evolved so much over the centuries. Used tablets of wax were used to erase lead or charcoal marks from paper, and in some cases, sandstone or pumice was used to remove small errors from papyrus documents written in ink. Even though erasers were made to remove pencils markings from documents, it soon evolved to be able to remove ink as well as remove writing from chalkboards and whiteboards.

So the next time you use your eraser think about how tedious writing would be if Edward Nairne never came across this genius invention by accident!