Blackboards, The Original

Who remembers the “Wanted” posters nailed to the post outside the sheriff’s office in westerns? Well with a small amount of imagination, it is easy to see where the pin board came from. It is not that popular these days though they are seen, often with a criss-cross of ribbon or tape to hold small notes or cards. More popular are write on notice boards.

Write on notice boards have evolved over the years. In the beginning, chalk boards were originally made of a flat piece of pinewood painted black. They originated in the 19th century in America. The author can remember (only just!) using an early lap top, a chalk board instead of paper and pencil at infant school, the original laptop! Plaster of paris mixed with lamp black painted on walls gave a smooth black finish that took chalk well and created a blackboard on any wall, modern versions are available.

Blackboard appears here

Modern chalkboards are made of porcelain enamel or silica (silicon combined with oxygen). Both give a hard smooth surface and can be customised at manufacture incorporating lines, titles or even musical staffs. The future of these old favourites is limited due to the perceived health hazard of chalk dust and the possible harm it might do to sensitive electronic equipment.


Taking over from chalkboards are dry erase boards with smooth polypropylene surfaces, using special markers to write on them, they are easily cleaned using a dry cloth. A black one gives the impression of a traditional black board and a white one gives the name we now know them by.

magnetic whiteboard

They can be made with logos or permanent information imprinted and with different colours so a red, orange or other coloured whiteboard! It is even possible to buy a stick on white board on a roll.

Storage units and division walls can have whiteboard as their surface giving multi use opportunities. The option to have magnetic boards also expands the flexibility. Using a quality whiteboard with a nonporous dry erase surface will give the best appearance and longest life.

A newer development is interactive whiteboards. These are a special board, where a computer projects an image on to a board on which you write with a special no mark pen or even your finger. The content on the board also appears on the computer screen and can be saved on the PC. The image on the board can be manipulated in much the same way as the content on modern phone screens, iPads and similar devices. These are used in school classrooms and suit training or team situations where ideas or information needs to be displayed and manipulated.

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