Whiteboards have been used in schools, colleges and universities for decades. The whiteboard was an invention that took over from the blackboard and enabled an easier, more user-friendly approach to presentation. Read on for a short history of whiteboards.

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Blackboards were always used in schools as they allowed for easy writing using chalk, which could then be wiped off for future use. Whiteboards used special pens instead of chalk, and they could also be wiped clean with a special eraser to be used again.

The First Whiteboards

The first whiteboard was invented in the 1950s by Martin Heit, a photographer. He realized that pen marks could be wiped off film negative easily, and he created a whiteboard using similar laminate to that found in photographic film.

The whiteboard was used more openly in the 1960s thanks to the efforts of industrial steel company Alliance, who offered it as an alternative to blackboards. Initially, they had to be wiped with a damp cloth, but dry-erase whiteboards were introduced in the 1970s. Whiteboards as we know them today did not become widely commercially available until the 1990s.

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Surfaces and Problems

A problem with the earliest whiteboards was that they were difficult to clean. The pens often left a small mark on the board, even after wiping clean. Early designs had thin, film-type surfaces that would mark. These were later replaced with magnetic or porcelain surfaces. The latter type of surface was considered the best surface for a whiteboard as it was easiest to clean.

The modern whiteboard marker pen was invented in the 1970s and uses an erasable ink. The ink used for whiteboards does not contain any toxic chemicals, unlike xylene, which can be found in permanent marker ink.

Modern Schools

Whiteboards, such as school dry wipe magnetic whiteboards available from stockists such as https://wedgewhiteboards.co.uk/, are used today as the board of choice. Wall-mounted dry-erase boards are used all over the world to display and share information. Some schools are even moving beyond whiteboards and opting for 3D projectors. Students can use special glasses to see the 3D images.

Technology moves forward quickly, and there are always new inventions to help with education. However, it is likely there will always be a place in the educational world for whiteboards as a simple and easy way to share written information with a group.