Pencil Psychology #1a: Erasers Home       Pencil Psy #1 Home
Let's start with the top of the pencil, the eraser. Erasers are a big part of a pencil. Most people
dislike using pencils with nubbins as erasers. It's strange. Kids fight over the pencil with the
biggest erasers in class. What most people don't know is the
other side of the story: what pencil
erasers tell about their owners.

You use pencil erasers to correct mistakes, or to fix something (as in a drawing) to make it look
good. So erasers tell others about how people use them. Of course, they all wear down with use.
But they still wear differently. For example, and artist like Daniel would have smaller erasers than
that of mine.

Types Of Erasers
As you know from experience, erasers vary greatly. There are those (such as Dixon Ticonderoga)
that erase wonderfully, and those (such as PaperMate) that, well, suck. Erasers come in many
types and sizes. Some examples are pencil caps, pencil erasers, Extending erasers, and some
pencil toppers. This article deals with the erasers that are or go on your pencils. Pen erasers are
unacceptable and disregarded.

Generic Erasers
Generic pencils have generic erasers. The small, pink rubber cylinders encased by a metal ring
and wedged onto the end of the generic pencil. They're a Pencil chewer's worst nightmare (the
rings). Because they're always on the pencil (unless pulled off by a voracious chewer), they're the
first erasers used (see Pencil Caps For Disclaimer). Thats why they tell the most about users.

Large Erasers
Of course, all generic erasers are "big" when new, but after a few weeks of good use, they start to
tell their story. If they're still the same, new size, it indicates one of two things:
1. A pencil cap was used (see pencil caps)
2. It did not undergo good usage
We will discuss #1 later. We shall currently assume that #2 is true. This means something if it is
large after a few weeks. Unless the user has more than one pencil, than the user must be very
smart. Why, you ask. Think of the user's head as the top eraser of the pencil. The bottom will be
mentioned later. So if the eraser is big, than the user's head is big, which means the user's brain
is big. Another, more reasonable description is that the user is smart, and therefore does not
need to erase as much. Or, the user is a skilled artist that gets the drawing right the first time,
every time.
Small Erasers
And guess what a small eraser means? Two things:
1. The pencil and eraser have been heavily used.
2. The user is stupid*
Everybody makes mistakes, and all erasers will eventually wear flat. So #1 is applicable, even the
user is smart. But #2 can be true as well. It could be the eraser of a kid in the special-ed class
who needed to be told, at every turn, the right answers, as opposed to his wrong ones. It may not
mean his physical head is small, only that he may have certain er, um... "problems."
But still, its pretty unusual to find a mint eraser on a well used pencil. There is only one possible
explanation for that: #1 is true. A pencil cap or topper was used.

Pencil Caps
Pencil caps or toppers are not generic. Some may be already glued to the pencil. Those that are
shipped this way can be considered generic erasers because they were the original erasers on
the pencil. But most pencil caps and some pencil toppers are add-ons to the pencil. Pencil caps
(such as those in the picture) come in a chisel shape. Pencil toppers often come in various sizes,
shapes and colors. Pencil caps are intended for use after the generic eraser has worn out. Pencil
toppers add spice to a pencil and can also be a replacement. Pencil caps that are on worn out
erasers are normal. However, when a fresh generic eraser is under a pencil cap, the user is  
cheap. He put the cap on to protect the generic eraser! This may be acceptable for mechanical
pencils, where erasers can be expensive. But pencil caps on unused erasers tell people that the
user is a cheapo freak who cares way too much about a puny eraser.

Eraser Feels
Erasers can be made out of many different materials. For example some Staedler erasers are
made from "mars plastic." And of course, different erasers erase differently. Its not just the look of
the eraser, but the feel as well. And just how the eraser erases is perhaps the major part of
eraser psychology.
Remember that a
pencil's attributes,
not just the eraser,
often are those of
the person who used
it the most. Sharing
pencils can confuse
the psychological
final readout. If
you do pencil
psychology, make
sure only you use
the pencil.