101 Things Brum Gave The World. No. 27: Not Admitting Your Mistakes
Inventor of fizzy pop Joseph Priestley made other contributions to our society too. On April 15, 1770—not ten years before he would move to Brum—he recorded his discovery of Indian gum’s ability to erase lead pencil marks. He wrote, “I have seen a substance excellently adapted to the purpose of wiping from paper the mark of black lead pencil.” And did so in ink, which pissed him off when he discovered he’d made a cock-up.
Priestley called them ‘rubbers’, and they made their way into the pencil cases of schoolkids: amusing classmates of people called Jon for years to come. It also gave PR people, politicians, capitalists, and other liars a sense that it was okay simply to pretend that you’d done nothing wrong. We love that.
Viva Joey P, and viva his home town (1780-91) of Birmingham.