How Do Erasers Erase?

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Really anything stickier than paper will be able to erase graphite. Pencil writing is really a mix of graphite and clay that clings onto the fibers in paper. Rubber erasers can lift up these flakes of writing simply by being stickier than the paper.

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Key Facts In This Video

  1. Pencil lead isn't actually lead—it's graphite. 00:23

  2. The earliest erasers, which date back to the 1500s, were just bread. 01:20

  3. The word "rubber" originated from a scientist who discovered how easily it picked up graphite when rubbed. 01:40