General Pencil Co. is best-known as one of the oldest pencil companies in the United States, and one of the few that are still making pencils right here in the US of A — Jersey City, to be precise, where they’ve been making pencils for 127 years. They’re not a one-trick pony though, because pencils aren’t all they make. One of the most important features of the graphite pencil is that it is erasable; naturally, then, General’s has several eraser products, including this cute little guy: the All Art eraser.
I originally picked the All Art up because, why not? They’re cheap. They’re cute. You can never have too many erasers. Sadly it has been overlooked as it languished in my to-review drawer, overshadowed by its relatively gargantuan neighbors. Until now! It’s time for the General’s All Art to shine on the big stage. Let’s see if it can hang with the big boys, shall we?
Form and Function
The General Pencil Co. All Art eraser is about as simple as it comes: a small block of squishy pink rubber. Measuring just about 2.5 by 3 centimeters in a rectangular block, the All Art is a cute little thing. As far as thickness goes, it’s about the same as the diameter of a pencil eraser. It’ll definitely fit in your pocket, pouch, or whatever with ease.
The small size might seem like a disadvantage — more is better, right? — but it makes it just right for hand-held use: it’s small enough that it’s easy to maneuver while still giving enough to hold onto. It allows for precise letter-by-letter erasing, and retains its shape. It doesn’t flop all over the place or block your view of what you’re doing. At first I wasn’t sold, but the diminutive stature has grown on me.
To kick the proverbial tires on this thing, I first tested it against multiple pencils and other erasers on smooth paper (cheap Walgreens graph paper). The results were interesting, and varied based on what type of pencil it was up against. The Hi-Polymer block clearly outperformed the General’s All Art across the board, so we can say with confidence that the All Art isn’t the best eraser ever. After that, though, it gets a little more competitive. For the most part, it outperformed the Pink Pearl, although for some reason Paper Mate’s hunk of punk rubber was better at erasing…ironically…the Cedar Pointe. The All Art was roughly equivalent to the Hi-Polymer pencil cap against all pencils. In general, it seemed like General Pencil Co’s pink rubber eraser was better at removing softer, darker pencil marks than harder, lighter ones.
Testing the it out on toothy paper yielded similar results. It didn’t remove marks as well as the Hi Polymer, but it beat out the Pink Pearl and did about as good as the pencil cap version of the Hi Polymer. This result is pretty consistent across the board, with the All Art doing a little bit better at removing soft pencils than harder ones.
While the General’s All Art eraser seemed to erode fairly quickly, and generate a substantial amount of waste, the good news is that the scraps of eraser were pretty consolidated. For the most part, all of it rolled up into one string of rubber, with a few other smaller blobs forming. Overall, just a few large pieces were produced, making clean-up easy.
The General Pencil Co. All Art eraser isn’t going to knock any Hi-Polymer type plastic erasers off their throne, but it’s not too shabby. It’s definitely better at erasing than the decidedly mediocre Pink Pearl, and in fact I’d argue that the All Art performs well within the subset of erasers that consists of pink rubber chunks. Granted, they’re a little bit messy messy, they’re definitely tiny, and they wear out fast. Why don’t the good erasers last longer and the crappy ones disappear faster?
But the other good thing work mentioning about these erasers are that they are available at the rock-bottom price of twenty-six cents at my neighborhood art supply store. Erasers in general are pretty cheap, so I’m sure that cost isn’t that much of a factor for anyone, but these little guys are probably one of the best buys you’ll find. Perhaps more importantly, the low price helps offset their small size and quick erosion.
OK, so I think we’ve established that this little pink block isn’t going to rock your world and shatter the foundation of everything you believe in. But, they’re like four for a buck and erase pretty good. Pick one up and try it. Hell, pick up a handful. They’re great for dispersing around desk drawers and pencil cups.
Sure, keep your Hi-Polymer stashed away for when you need to pull out the big guns, but I think the General’s All Art is the perfect candidate for an “I bought 28 of these so I never have trouble finding an eraser again” eraser.