Radar Plastic Eraser

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I have two items left in my good-bye gift bag. One is a Stalogy Editor’s Series 365 Days Notebook but I don’t want to discuss it until after I have used it for awhile and I was thinking of waiting until the new year as it seems to be a planner more than just a notebook. That leaves the Radar plastic eraser. At first, I didn’t think I could come up with enough to say about an eraser to create a blog post but as I have discovered about other seemingly mundane items, when you look more closely there is something to learn about everything.

First off, I like the name Radar as it is a palindrome and I find the retro look of the package appealing. I suspect the design has not changed much since it was introduced in 1965. It is still being produced by the Seed Corporation of Osaka, Japan whose company slogan is “A Technology of Erasing”. They don’t just make erasers for writing but also a series for cleaning, such as removing scale or rust on walls and sinks. Although the company is based in Japan, the actual eraser was made in Vietnam.

The cardboard sheath protecting the eraser has small notches on the corners to minimize eraser breakage. I haven’t usually found that is a big problem but it is nice that they have thought that through.

I tried the eraser out on four different pencils, a Kimberly 3H, Berol Turquoise HB, Palomino Blackwing (the hardness is not stated but usually considered a 2B), and a Staedtler Mars Lumograph 8B. The Radar did an excellent job of erasing all the pencils except for the 8B. That is really dark graphite and I just couldn’t remove it. It left a nice tidy crumb that sort of stuck to itself to make strings rather than crumbling completely. The eraser itself stayed nice and clean with no graphite residue left on it. This is a better than average eraser that’s for sure.

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If this eraser was a person they would be small and effective with a distinctive style that is retro, not old-fashioned. They are always pleasant to be around.

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Erasers

It is often said we should live our lives with no regrets, but if that were the case would there be any need for erasers? Erasers are one stationery item where there is no point in holding on to them as they degrade over time. Still, I just can’t part with my typewriter eraser. It is a symbol of just how far I have come. Yes, readers, I learned to type on a manual typewriter that did not even have correctable ribbon. There were a few types of typewriter erasers back in the day, but this one was pencil-style with a little brush on the end to remove the crumbs so they wouldn’t fall into the mechanics of the typewriter.

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While pink erasers (the ol’ Pink Pearl) were common when I was in school, they never worked really well as they tended to leave a smudge behind. At some point I was introduced to the white vinyl eraser and have never looked back.

before and after

The original white vinyl eraser is the Staedtler Mars. Not just good for home use, they are also used in book conservation because they have neutral pH and are sulfur-free. They do leave a lot of crumbs behind so if you don’t like sweeping them up with your hands, you can get a handy little truck to do it for you. The Midori Mini Cleaner actually does a very good job of picking up the debris, takes up little space on a desk, and doesn’t use batteries.

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Although my favourite erasers are the white vinyl ones (even my novelty Santa one works well), I have a couple of others too. My daughter gave me a kneadable eraser she got in an art class. These erasers have a putty-like feel that work by picking up and absorbing the pencil mark rather than by rubbing it off. You can refresh it by stretching and kneading in the graphite but at a certain point they have absorbed all they can. So even though they don’t wear away like typical erasers, they don’t last forever.

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Finally, my pink pencil topper eraser seemed like a good idea, but like all pink erasers, I don’t find they really work well. Definitely not recommended.

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So what would eraser people be like? They seem flexible but erasers are small and domineering people, not just happy to win an argument, they have to obliterate their opponent.