Facts About Erasers: Did You Know Them?

Erasers are considered the best invention of the 19th century, second only to a pencil. An eraser is made from rubber and it is used to clear out the mistakes made by lead pencils or ink.

Different types of erasers have different uses. An eraser attached to the back of the lead pencil is the most common type and it is used to remove those pencil stains. It can be soft or hard in nature and this affects its function.

All of us have used this tiny piece of rubbers in our childhood. So today I will share some interesting facts about erasers that might shake you to your core.

Facts About Erasers

Facts about erasers can be broadly divided into:

  1. History related Facts
  2. Types related Facts
  3. Structure and Function related facts

Now let’s move to the details of these facts.

Facts About Rubber Related To Its History

Many amazing facts are associated with the history of rubber. I will share the most interesting facts here with you guys.

Discovery of Rubber

Facts About Erasers
  • Joseph Priestly, a great philosopher of his time, discovered rubber on 15 April 1770. He found out the vegetable gums derived from a rubber tree, were very efficient in removing lead pencil stains. But his discovery was not appreciated in his time.
  • The rubber discovered by Priestly was in its raw, semi-solid form. Hence It could not gain popularity.
  • Charles Goodyear in 1839 developed Vulcanization. This process improved rubber’s elasticity and resilience and hence made rubber the standard.
  • Now 15 April is celebrated as the National Rubber day.

Many amazing facts are associated with the history of rubber. I will share the most interesting facts here with you guys.

Bread – The First Eraser

  • Before the discovery of rubber, people used firm and balled up bread as erasers.
  • Moist crumb-less bread was an ideal tool for the artist to wipe off graphite stains.

The Discovery Of Rubber Was An Accident

  • Edward Nairne, a British engineer, discovered rubber at the same time as Priestly. He was able to create and market it properly in Europe.
  • According to him, He accidentally used rubber instead of bread and realized its property.
  • But now, it has become one of the basic tools in sketching and drawing.

Facts About Rubber Related To Its Types

There are many types of erasers available in the market now-a-days. Each one has its own unique property.  I will now tell you some amazing facts about major types of erasers.

Pencil Or Cap Erasers

  • The cheapest and most common type of erasers
  • Made up of minerals, plasticizers, and abrasive material such as Vegetable oil

Vinyl Erasers

  • Modern and expensive erasers.
  • They are very gentle on paper. This property makes them ideal for Architects and Engineers

Fiberglass Erasers                                                        

  • The multitaskers of the eraser group.
  • They are pen-shaped with a replaceable fiberglass tip
  • Used to clean the stain of pencil, pen, cleaning dust on electronic circuit boards, and many other purposes.
  • They were used to prepare fossils embedded in hard limestones.

Artist Gum Eraser

  • Softest type of erasers
  • Blunt in nature.
  • Useful in cleaning only larger areas of paper

Electric Erasers

  • Invented by Arthur Drevell in 1932
  • It uses a replaceable eraser head attached to a motor shaft
  • It was invented to decrease the paper damage due to rubbing pressure

Facts About Rubber Related To Its Structure And Function

Facts About Erasers

The consistency of rubber is directly related to its function. Soft rubber has blunt ends and is most useful to wipe off big irregular markers.

A firm rubber maintains its shape throughout the rubbing process. It is used to make small adjustments.

Does Rubber Have Volcanic Ash?

  • Many erasers especially those pink ones have a slight tint of Volcanic Ash in them
  • Volcanic ash is used to increase the abrasive effect of the rubber

Eraser Works Chemically Not Mechanically

  • An eraser contains sticky polymers that act like tiny magnets
  • They bind graphite particles stronger than paper and detach them from paper
  • The function of almost every eraser is based on this principle regardless of its name and type

2 Random Facts About Erasers


  • In 1859, Hymen Lipmann patented the design of a graphite pencil with a rubber on its back.
  • These are called plugs by the manufacturers.
  • Erasers were sold separately at a high price before that design.

Rubber Or Eraser? Which One Is Accurate

  • Initial erasers were derived from resins (a metabolic waste) of the Rubber plant
  • Priestly named them rubber based on their property to Rub off the pencil marks.
  • Now the word rubber is used for raw rubber use in the production of erasers
  • Many Britishers still use the word rubber instead of erasers


Erasers are one of the first working tools we lay hands-on, in our life. But little did we know about the amazing facts it hides in the form of its history, types, and function.

They were discovered in the 1770s but regarded as standard in 1839. Rubbers were discovered by mistake when Edward Nairne used them instead of moist bread to remove graphite stains. 15 April is celebrated as National Rubber Eraser Day.

Erasers were initially called rubber by Prestly. But now rubber is regarded as a raw material used in the formation of erasers. Still, many Britishers hold on to the old name.

Rubber has many types and each type has its own unique properties. The most common of those is the Pencil eraser. Electrical erasers and Fiberglass erasers are modern erasers with multiple functions.

The consistency of rubber is related to its function which is chemical by nature. Many erasers contain volcanic ash to enhance their abrasive abilities.

I am sure many of you were unaware of these facts before. If I have missed any fun facts, you can share them with me in the comment section below. Thanks for reading!