Gone: One 19-Foot, 10,000-Pound Typewriter Eraser

For years, one of the attractions of Beachside Avenue — besides the beautiful homes, enormous lawns and sweeping views of Long Island Sound — has been a quirky sculpture of a typewriter eraser.

The work — “Typewriter Eraser, Scale X” by noted sculptors Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen — stands 19 feet, 3 inches tall, and weighs 10,300 pounds. Enormous blue bristles project from a tilting red wheel.

It was commissioned in the late 1990s by Westporters Sam and Ronnie Heyman. It’s a limited edition piece. Others are in Seattle, Las Vegas, and the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC.

The Heymans went to California to see their artwork fabricated. It traveled cross-country in a flatbed truck, before being installed — very trickily, atop a subterranean 12-foot concrete base — on the couple’s front lawn.

“Typewriter Eraser, Scale X” — just the thing for your lawn.

For two decades “Typewriter Eraser, Scale X” amused, entertained and enthralled everyone who drove or jogged by.

Now it’s gone.

But it will be unveiled next month in a new location: the outdoor entrance plaza to the Norton Museum of Art in West Palm Beach, Florida.

That’s fitting. The museum will feature an exhibition of Oldenburg and van Bruggen’s work. Much of it focuses on office equipment — including typewriters and erasers.

In fact, the Heymans’ sculpture proved an inspiration for the exhibit. Ronnie Heyman is a Norton trustee.

In 2012, Greens Farms resident Seth Schachter’s son stood in front of the Beachside Avenue fence — with the eraser sculpture in the background.

Plenty of people enjoyed the enormous eraser on Beachside Avenue.

But many, many more will see it in its next home, outside a museum in Florida.

The big question is: How many visitors actually know what a typewriter eraser was?

(Hat tip: Seth Schachter. He spotted an article about the sculpture in the Wall Street Journal. Click here to read the full story.)

12 responses to “Gone: One 19-Foot, 10,000-Pound Typewriter Eraser

  1. What’s a typewriter? What’s an eraser? Does it work on my iPhone?

  2. Dan, your headline suggested this thing was stolen! I’m delighted to hear more people will be able to enjoy it.

  3. Many of us still say that we’re “typing,” on our computers or iPhones, even though we haven’t seen a typewriter for years. Some of us never have.

  4. Judith Ann Johnston

    Oh silly! I think I still have mine from when I was trying to pass (and succeeded) in typing 160 wpm on a manual typewriter too!

  5. Just buy a BlackBerry KeyOne or Key2 (or Key2 LE) running Andriod with physical keyboard. It will bring you back to the feel of real typing. Yes, BlackBerry is alive and well as I type this comment with my physical keyboard blackberry
    You also an visit the local shop owner who collects typewriters.

  6. Just buy a BlackBerry KeyOne or Key2 (or Key2 LE) running Andriod with physical keyboard. It will bring you back to the feel of real typing. Yes, BlackBerry is alive and well as I type this comment with my physical keyboard blackberry
    You also an visit the local shop owner who collects typewriters.

  7. Apologies to WESTPORT; I wish we had TWO!

  8. There was another Oldenburg Eraser in the Atrium behind 590 Madison Ave (corner of 56th St) in NYC 15 years ago. I wonder if it is still there? I was shocked to see one here in Westport.

  9. As a long time resident of Westport being born and raised there I look forward to viewing the sculpture in my second home of Palm Beach at the Norton Museum.

  10. This never failed to make me smile anytime I passed by it. I’m sad to see it go but glad that it will continue to elicit smiles elsewhere.

  11. One summer many years ago I went to a secretarial school to learn typing so as to not get shot at in one of our wars. We were never given typewriter erasers. I never saw one. This big art work looks like a plant pulled out of the ground. (I used to type 50 words a minute.)

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