“A Necessity For Every Desk”

These images and text are from a 1921 advertisement, extolling the benefits of one of the many products featuring Eberhard Faber’s newly invented clamp eraser design. It was double-ended, allowing for a pencil eraser and an ink eraser.

Not so fast: if the eraser can be adjusted as it wears (II), how is it then that “the fingers do not come in contact” (III) with the eraser? Must be some Eberhard Faber clamp clamp I don’t know about (which, when not in use, can be hung on any office wall with their clamp clamp clamp).

There is an aspect to this product that leads me to a question—one that doesn’t seem to be talked about in polite circles—so I might be inadvertently breaking some social taboo that I don’t know about. But I have to ask: Haven’t we—for like the past 100 years or something—just been kidding ourselves about ink “erasers”? Did manufacturers hope that consumers just wouldn’t notice that they do little else besides tear paper and spread suffering, or has it simply been the longest, most unprecedented run of guileless optimism in history? “We’ve long known that our company’s ink eraser products don’t work, but you never know…they might!”

I’ll take two.

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7 Responses to “A Necessity For Every Desk”

  1. I remember as a kid being amazed to see the paper just wear away when I tried to erase ink.

    About clamp clamps and such: that sounds like a Levenger initiative. (They seem to make many things that hold things that hold things.)


  2. Gunther says:

    Thank you for presenting the ultimate clampiness! Now that’s what I call “making the most of a patent”. — If only I had a pencil case with a clamp to clamp that clamp.

    I agree with you on the ink erasers. I remember using—no, trying to use them—at school and making similar observations as Michael’s. I think many scribes would be better off with a blade or (even quicker) a hole punch to cut out the mistake completely. — By the way, Faber-Castell still offer a woodcased eraser for users of typewriters which surely belongs to the same category of superstitious stationery (I wonder if the number sold per year has more than two digits).


  3. adair says:

    What a nifty tool, though. I love the sheer tactility of EF products. I’d buy it just for the design, even if the ink eraser was, like most ink erasers, a dud. Remember those awful accountant pens from the 60’s and 70’s that were tipped with greyish, hard, ink erasers that just left dirty streaks on the page and wore holes through the paper?


  4. Sean says:

    Thanks, everyone, for your comments.

    If the ink eraser wasn’t working out, maybe some decided to replace it with another pencil eraser. Based on the eraser’s size this must have been a pretty small item (not much more than a double-ended Blackwing ferrule). If they were about the same size as those lead refill tubes, I bet they were easy to lose, too.

    By the way, I found out that at the time, they were sold for 15¢.


  5. Pingback: A Dignified Addition | Contrapuntalism

  6. Pingback: Eberhard Faber No. 2095 | Contrapuntalism

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