Irascibilty on Erasability

This may be my last enry entry…

Recently there has been a slew of erasable pens hitting the market and I was ‘lucky’ enough to be given a free one by the guys at CultPens (still not a sponsor – still can be if they fancy it). Among the pens I had ordered there was a free sample of the Uniball Signo TSI which is an erasable rollrball pen with a 0.7mm tip.

Erasable pens have been around for quite a while now (Papermate released the Erasermate in 1979) but, despite good sales in the early 80s, they have never really taken off in a big way. There are several reasons for this but I will focus on one: what’s the point?

As a pen user (and despite the notion of a paperless office who isn’t?) I am used to a the limitations inherent in the tool. If I make a mistake I take it in my stride and strike through the error or blot it out with a blob of correction fluid (or even just start again if necessary). These are my established methods and come as second nature to me. Thus I find myself using an erasable pen in exactly the same way I use indelible ones – it simply doesn’t occur to me that I could use the ‘handy’ eraser point on the end of the pen or the lid to erase my mistake and overwrite it. On those rare occasions that I do remember this (usually just after I have scribbled out the error and compounded the problem with the amount of ink I have used) I find further issues:

The ink – in this case Uniball’s TSI (Thermo Sensitive Ink) – does not actually erase; instead, it turns clear when heat is applied. This means that it can appear to be erased but will actually come back once it has cooled a little. Even if it has been eradicated and doesn’t come back, there is an added issue in that the paper has been heated to a point where overwriting is made difficult as some of the new ink is made instantly invisible!

Then there is a further issue: If you erase too vigorously on one page and there is something written on the back or on the next page, this can be heated through the paper and will also fade or even disappear.

Overall I fail to see the point. The Uniball Signo TSI is a pretty good pen in itself (although overall it feels cheap and plasticy) but it just seems useless. By Uniball’s own admission the pens shouldn’t be used for writing cheques or any important documents requiring signatures. That leaves you with note taking or ‘jotting’ and who cares about how many mistakes you make when doing that?

I mentioned in an earlier post that I like Uniball pens and the Signo TSI is no different, it’s a nice pen to use with a decent, reliable flow of ink but there are better ones out there that don’t rely on what amounts to a gimmick.

Am I being too mean or too kind? If you can think of any reason for the erasable pen to exist when there are pencils in the world or you have a differing opinion please let me know in the comments.

Thanks for reading, now can someone explain why the hell you’d need an erasable printer?!


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