Friday, March 21, 2008

Boston Cube

Boston Cube Eraser?

There’s an art supplies store at a shopping centre that I occasionally visit, and they have a small selection of erasers. This is one of them.“Boston” is about the only legible marking on the eraser or its display box. It’s a cube, each face being about 24mm or just under 1 inch wide. Colour is a beige brown, and it appears to be natural rubber. The erasers sort of stick to their neighbours in the box, one face usually looks like its got a bit of a skin on if from being cooked or heated or cured or something. They appear slightly brittle as small pieces are missing from most of them – corner knocked off, bite taken out an edge, that sort of thing. I kind of like the look of it.I decided I’d risk my dollar and get one. I had read that crumbly art-gum erasers were quite good at erasing very soft dark pencil marks as the eraser crumbled and therefore didn’t smear the lead around like most firm erasers. Sounded interesting, a good theory, turned out to be complete rubbish. Well, maybe that's a bit harsh, what I really mean is this eraser is complete rubbish.I tried erasing some HB, 2B and 5B markings. It got worse as the B’s went up. Barely adequate at erasing HB, it was a smeary joke by 5B.In this photo, after erasing I have circled where the original marks to be erased were. On the left is the Boston, on the right is Staedtler Mars Plastic. No contest. Maybe they are not an eraser at all, but a lead blender or smearer for artists?


jgodsey said...

wow. what a terrible eraser. wish i knew something about the brand. The only 'boston' stationery brand i know is the name of a maker of pencil sharpener. not partial to art gum myself. i agree about the smearage.

Anonymous said...

It almost looks as if it says "engraved ?????-????." and "ERASER-CLEANER" underneath.

Was the display box really that bad?

Anonymous said...

That eraser might be as old as it looks. I would guess they have a limited shelf life. I just tried my own comparison, and a new General's gum eraser compares well with a Staedtler Mars plastic when erasing a Lumograph 100 HB line on linen paper. The same result on cheap office copy paper.

Kiwi-d said...

Hi Folks

Anonymous - yes I think it does say "Eraser - Cleaner". The display box was no help as I think it was just the bottom half, and they were throwing away the lid which might have had some information on it.

Stephen - The eraser certainly does look "old", but from my observation at the store the stock did seem to be moving. But they could still have a 20 year old mountain of them out in the warehouse that they were using to replensh the shelf with. The compund itself still has reasonable flexibility, etc so I'm tempted to think despite its appearance its not really expired stock.

Anonymous said...

If you're looking for the cleanest eraser on the market, look no further then General's Factis Black 18. No smudges, no mess.

Next time your at the supply store toss a couple in your basket, you'll be happy you did.

Kiwi-d said...

Hello Anonymous - thanks for the recommendation, I'll keep an eye out for one, although Generals is not a brand I have seen in this country, but Factis is, so maybe there's hope.

Julia said...

I'm not sure this is useful info, but I have one of those old Boston pencil sharpeners, and the script of the brand name appears to be the same on both my sharpener and your "eraser", Dave.

I checked out one of our larger art supply stores here in Iowa (Dick Blick is the name), and they sell a store-brand art gum eraser that looks eerily similar to what you found, save the brand name on the side. Here's a link if you're interested in seeing it:

Well, that's a lot of information that's fairly certain to be completely useless! Apologies for rattling on.

Kiwi-d said...

Hi Julia
Thanks for the info. Thats interesting about the script, certainly implies a linkage.

Another reader has advised me of another similar art gum eraser, the Gernerals Art Gum

This one claims latex free which has surprised me. I thought art gum was latex, but maybe I'm wrong. Anyway, it too looks the same.

So, 1 big eraser factory, many many brandname customers.

Anonymous said...

I was given erasers made of this material when I first learned to write.

They were provided by the school, along with those oversize pencils.

Sanford has them too, and they claim:

"Dual purpose eraser and dry cleaner. Erases and cleans paper, fabric and leather without scratching or smudging. Fine dry powder cleans the drawing surface by absorbing graphite and dirt. Eraser Type: Art; Material(s): Rubber; Refill(s): NA; Suggested Use: NA. Sanford® Sanford Art Gum Eraser, 12 Pk, Beige

Additional Information

Erases and cleans paper, fabrics and leather without scratching or smudging. Used by professional artists and architects in offices, schools and homes."

I never thought these were very good for anything but breaking into pieces and throwing around the classroom when the teacher wasn't looking.

Anonymous said...

Here's a video that gives a use for them. I guess they're not just for throwing after all...