Archive for the 'Diener Erasers' Category

Mr. T Pencil Top Eraser (Diener Industries, 1984)

Diener Mr. T 1984

Wow. That’s one mean eraser.

Space Raiders Notebooks, 1978/1979

Space Raiders 1978-3

Space Raiders 1978

Space Raiders 1978-2

You remember Diener’s popular Space Raiders and Space Creatures erasers. What we’ve got here are a couple of notebooks in a series of 12 based on the Raiders designs. There were only eight Raiders, so I’m not sure what the other four notebooks covered. I can’t wait to find out.

What’s interesting about the notebooks is that (1) they provide a backstory for each Raider, (2) they tell us that “many models” of the erasers were sold individually at the time, and (3) the company that produced them bought the license from Diener the same year Diener unveiled their sci-fi line at the 1978 toy fair.

Thanks to James Agee for the reminder about these beauties. Please let me know if you remember having any, or if you see photos of others.

(Images via Etsy; both items sold)

Diener Industries: Mythological Creatures (Circa 1980)

Diener Mythical Creatures

Diener Medusa

Diener Minotaur

All of the info I have on the set, as well as the photos, come from Little Weirdos, a cool site focusing on mini monster figures.

We don’t know when they were first produced. I suspect they were a response to the popularity of Bakshi’s The Lord of the Rings and D&D, which would put them around ’79/’80, same as the Space Raiders and Space Creatures figures.

Does anyone remember them? Is the Medusa wearing a bra?

Diener Industries: Space Raiders and Space Creatures (1979/1981)

Diener SR 1981-1

Diener SR 1981-2

Diener SR 1981-3

Diener SR 1981-4

Diener SR 1981-5

Lefty Limbo jogged my memory of these novelty erasers earlier this year, and I finally found photos of complete, carded sets (colors varied). They were originally included in McDonald’s Happy Meals from 1979 to 1980, and were very likely sold individually at this time as well. The earliest date I’ve found on the cards is 1981.

I slightly prefer the Space Raiders because that’s what we traded at school, although I think the Space Creatures are more interesting in terms of design and detail. (Check out Neato Coolville’s great post on their resemblance to classic movie monsters.)

Diener SC 1981-1

Diener SC 1981-2

Diener SC 1981-3

Diener SC 1981-4

Diener SC 1981-5

Murray Garrett started Diener Industries in 1957. The company peaked in the early ’80s, when promotional and retail sales combined were reported at $8 million, but the erasers, molded “using a secret process,” gained popularity throughout the ’70s, as dentists across America started giving them out to kids who were scared to death of dentists. (Dentist’s offices accounted for 25% of Diener’s business as late as 1983.) I remember digging through all the squishy pastel colors in the jar to get the one I wanted.

(Jay McDowell and Brian Williams have reminded me of the “prize bin” at school, where many of us were introduced to these guys.)

Diener was sold to Wincraft Inc. in 1993, with Garrett staying on as president. Its last big success came that same year, with the release of Jurassic Park. Dinosaurs had been a Diener staple from the beginning.


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