Remember those horrid erasable pens from grammar school? Or elementary school, depending on where in the US you grew up =) They only came in black and blue, were the only pens that were allowed for use in class (at least at my school), and the ink was thick, gooey, and smeared easily. My poor left-handed friends' hands were perpetually smudged navy blue. And whlie they erased ok, sometimes if the eraser got 'clogged' it would smear the ink around in the most nasty way.
We kids still thought it was the coolest thing ever - a pen that erases! and I got my mom to dish out the extra $$ for these pens. Regrettable, now!
Aside from the classic pumice-like hard and sandpaperish erasers that have been around for a while, that work by actually removing the top layer of paper along with the pen (but have the bonus of being able to be used with any pen - though not that well), there haven't been many innovations to the erasble pen in the intervening years - until recently, with the Pilot Frixion line of pens.
Up for consideration today, then, is the Pilot Frixion Point erasable gel pen, in brown:
This remarkable pen line uses thermo-sensitive ink (like the old school Hypercolor shirts) that, once laid down, can be erased with the application of heat. How does one generate the heat? Good question! And the answer is: an eraser that is not an eraser:
The semi-transparent rubber doodad at the end of the pen, is the 'eraser' - but unlike standard erasers, it doesn't work by rubbing off bits of itself. It stays intact, and instead the micro-contours of the rubber (or silicon, as is probably the case), provides friction (hence 'Frixion,' which probably also makes for more targeted Google searches, heh) when briskly rubbed over text. Neat-o!
First, a little comment about the tip, before moving on to the writing quality. The Frixion line comes in several flavors - .7mm gel pen, a 'colored pencil-like' line, and also a newer addition, a needlepoint in .4mm gel pen. The latter is denoted by an '04' on the barrel, and is the one I bought as I like fine tipped pens.
The one on this .4mm Frixion is reminiscent of the .4 Hi-tec C (unsurprising since it's the same maker, but it's not exactly the same of course) and the barrel itself is pretty trim and slim. The cap is larger in proportion, but it looks nice and adds a different touch to the pen.
The grip has rubbery surfacing, similar in material to the eraser. and overall the design is very nice, right on down to the stylish logo. Now, on to the writing sample:
As you can see, it writes very well, and while this brown color is almost like a copper in some respects, it lays down a nice thin line with sufficient flow. Some others have said that they found the Frixions to put down a lighter shade than normal gel pens; I find this brown a touch lighter than my other brown gel pens, but it is very legible and I wouldn't let that be a detractor at all, especially since it's probably inherent to the erasable ink. It is a very smooth writer btw.
Now, on to the erasure (and I don't mean that popular 80's band)! See if you can identify all the parts that got erased =)
Hard to tell? Notice how the 'Erasable gel pen' text, and every alternating horizontal line, has been completely erased. As in gone, poof, nada is left. Amazing stuff, it's like magic.
So there you have it. It'd be great for so many uses: I use it for marking up books so that if I underline some text and my line is crooked (as it often gets), I can simply erase and re-underline. Use if you want to mark up a textbook and return it to pristine condition afterward. Use it to write secret notes to friends. And so on. Note though, that using this to write important documents is not recommended, as for instance leaving in a baking car may fade the text, and also putting an erased bit of writing in the freezer can reappear some of it (though not as vividly).
The Frixion Point is available here from TokyoPenShop, which is where I got it. The proprietor there knows her Japanese pen stuff, and is a really cordial correspondent to boot, so I heartily recommend that shop. Quick shipping too. The Frixion line also even has highlighters, which I need to pick up one of these days and review.