A Pen with an Exit Strategy

Yasushi Kurita

Yasushi is a writer and editor based in Tokyo.

This ballpoint pen, called FriXion, was a huge hit five years ago in Japan. Today it’s still a steady seller because of one special attribute: it can erase mistakes.

It took the venerable pen maker Pilot 30 years to come up with a pen that erases with ease and leaves no marks behind. The little rubber eraser at the end of the pen works just like a pencil eraser. The erased words become transparent and disappear from view.

The secret is that FriXion uses a special ink. When this ink reaches 65 degrees Celsius (149 F), it becomes transparent. The friction of the eraser heats the ink and makes it disappear. There is one problem with the FriXion pen, however. Leave your documents in a hot car in the middle of summer, and there’s a chance your handwriting will disappear. There have been cases where documents near a hair dryer have been erased too, so if you use the FriXion pen, make sure to take care when storing those papers.

That said, the pen works like a charm and would make a pretty great gift for the writers and doodlers in your life.


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