Thursday, September 24, 2015

The Magic Rub eraser

Mary Norris, New Yorker copy editor, in Between You & Me: Confessions of a Comma Queen :

I make a lot of mistakes, thus requiring an eraser at least as large as an ice cube. The eraser available from the catalogue is the Magic Rub, which is of grayish-white vinyl in the shape of a domino. I use it to erase the screeds I sometimes feel compelled to write in the margins of proofs and then regret.
She goes on to mention the twelve-packs in the New Yorker supply cabinet.

I had never used a Magic Rub. Not because of its slightly louche name: the eraser and I had just never crossed paths. But I thought, If it’s good enough for . . . , and bought a three-pack. It’s a disappointing eraser, with an unpleasant color, a ghastly smell, and pockmarked sides that suggest unfinished concrete. And it doesn’t erase all that well. I’m a pretty undiscriminating eraser-user, though I will admit to a liking for Papermate’s ultramodern Black Pearl and Staedtler’s Extruded Eraser Stick. The Stick’s stubby shape and paper wrapper make me think of Choward’s Violet Flavored Mints. To my eye, the Magic Rub does not erase as well as the Pearl or the Stick. I haven’t tried it against the Mints.

Here’s the puzzling part. The Magic Rub’s maker, Prismacolor, describes the eraser thusly:
It’s Latex free, absorbs graphite and erases India Ink. Also comes in a nifty peel-off pencil form to erase dry media in one fell swoop.
And the art-supply company Dick Blick gives this description:
Prismacolor’s Magic Rub is a vinyl eraser for use on polyester-based drafting film, acetate, or tracing paper. It erases delicate drawings cleanly, without smudging.
These descriptions would seem to suggest that the Magic Rub is not well suited for erasing pencil on plain old paper. Maybe that’s why I find this eraser so unsatisfactory.

Related reading
A handful of eraser posts (Pinboard)
Between You & Me, my review
Mary Norris on New Yorker style

comments: 8

Chris said...

I favor a Staedtler Mars Plastic eraser, often used in the antiquarian book trade because it leaves no residue. See article here.

Michael Leddy said...

Would that be the same material as the Stick? “Latex + PVC Free,” says the wrapper.

Chris said...

Probably. Their website says "phthalate and latex free."

Michael Leddy said...

I should’ve thought to check. Yes, it looks like the same material in a different package. They’re on sale at Amazon for the ridiculous price of 63¢ for four.

Sean said...

I find this eraser to also leave residue behind on some surfaces.

I will send a Pilot Foam your way when I get back...something just short of a miracle, they are. Stocked up while in Tokyo.

Michael Leddy said...

Thank you, Sean! I’m making mistakes so I’ll be prepared.

Slywy said...

The Pilot eraser is, I think, available from JetPens, as is the Uni Boxy, which I heart. I do like the Staedtler and Black Pearl.

Michael Leddy said...

Yes, they are. They have a guide to erasers that focuses on the products they stock.