Erasers come in a variety of shapes, sizes and colors, but the most familiar eraser is the pink one instantly recognizable in homes, schools and offices. While the majority of modern erasers are manufactured from synthetic materials, making color a matter of preference, originally the eraser's color was the result of its ingredients.
The beginnings of the modern eraser are traced to 1770, when Edward Nairne sold cubes of natural rubber from his shop in London. The pink eraser became common when Eberhard Faber began to manufacture the Pink Pearl in a factory he started in 1861.
Pumice, a type of volcanic rock, and organic rubber were combined to make the pink eraser. This combination created the distinct smell and color of the eraser.
The pumice gives the pink eraser its abrasive quality without detracting from the softness of the rubber.
Erasers are used to remove markings from surfaces, most often to remove pencil markings from paper.
Papermate reported the sale of 132,000 Pink Pearl block erasers in 2008.