Whatever happened to …

… Whiteout?

Today’s inspiration came from this joke posted to the Far Side group on Facebook.

Thanks, Scott Hilburn

Now, I always knew of it as Whiteout. And I figured that it had gone away and was a great topic for today. I was wrong on both accounts. Doing the extensive research that I typically do for this post (grin), what I actually remembered was called Liquid Paper. And, it has not gone away; you can still pick a similar product on Amazon and at Staples.

The popular product today seems to be made by BiC and it now comes in a tape, in a pencil format as well as the bottle that I remember. It’s branded Wite Out like in the cartoon above.

As I’ve mentioned on this blog many times, I took typewriting in Grades 9 and 10. And, I truly mean typewriting. We learned how to type and type fast. In Grade 9, there was no chance for corrections. The idea was to get the copy down as quickly as possible. In Grade 10, we were encouraged to make corrections for production work but not with Liquid Paper. We were encouraged to buy an eraser with a tough side to do the rubbing and a brush on the other end to sweep away the crumbs so that they didn’t go into the typewriter. You had to make the correction while the paper was still in the typewriter so things lined up. That’s virtually impossible after you take the paper out.

Later, as a Business Education Director, Liquid Paper was actually something that was on the bulk order but for teachers only. The idea was to get perfect copy on things we were distributing in class. Part of my budget was devoted to typewriter repairs and they were expensive so we banned the use of the product by students. We all had this vision of the stuff going into the inside of the typewriter and making major damage. It was important that no typewriter was down during class lest some student show up and not have a typewriter to use.

The only place where it was accceptable was in the Practice Office where students often created documents for teachers and they had to be perfect. The Liquid Paper did a far better job than an eraser as it completely covered any error and when you photocopied the results, it was perfect copy every time.

So, for a Sunday, let’s talk about your mistakes.

  • are you old enough to have used Liquid Paper or any other similar product?
  • when you painted on something with the product, it was permanent for sure. At the school, we used it for numbering and branding school items like footballs and actually the typewriters themselves. Have you ever used Liquid Paper to number or brand something?
  • I’ll be honest; I was quite surprised to see that it’s still available for sale in 2024. After all, we all have computers. The original purpose was for typing errors, particularly the tape version. When was the last time you actually used a typewriter?
  • where would you use the product today? This isn’t a random question; I’m truly curious
  • the product does also have another saduse for some other than correcting mistakes or labelling things. What is that?
  • does your school have a Practice Office? (Whatever happened to Practice Offices?)
  • have you ever distributed a handout or a letter or something with a spelling mistake and have it come back on you by someone who did a better job proofreading than you?
  • of course, we all use computers these days. That doesn’t stop you or me at least, from making all kinds of errors. These days, we have tools that do the checking for us. What do you use?

For a Sunday, how about coming down from the podium and admitting that you’ve made mistakes and hopefully corrected them. I’d love to read about them in the comments.

This is a regular Sunday morning feature on this blog. All of the past posts are available here. And, I hope they’re all perfect copy.


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