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The Remarkable History Of Whiteboards

Learn about the fascinating history of whiteboards by reading this

Whiteboards are recognized as an essential piece of equipment in any office setting, conference room, classroom, and other spaces all around the world. These interactive, often overlooked items have a remarkable history. Let’s dig deeper to discover how whiteboards evolved from the 50s to the 90s and beyond.

Evolution Of Whiteboards

  • The glossy, smooth-surfaced whiteboards are analogous to blackboards and are used for making non-permanent markings. Whiteboards rose to popularity in the mid-1990s, primarily because of their smooth surface that allows rapid marking and erasing. Since then, they have become fixtures in meeting rooms, classrooms, and other educational workspaces. The invention of the whiteboards is credited to a Korean War veteran Martin Heit and an enameled steel production company employee, Albert Stallion. 

Martin Heit was a photographer by profession. He had thousands of film negatives which he used as notepads to write essential points while talking to his clients. He would wipe the negatives and use them again with other clients. This gave him the idea to develop whiteboards. However, he sold his idea to a company named Dri-Mark. Dri-Mark became the first company to introduce whiteboards in educational facilities. On the other hand, in the 1960s, Albert Stallion discovered that an enameled steel sheet could be used for writing. He later introduced his own whiteboard business.

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Invention Of Dry-Erase Markers

  • Although whiteboards became commercially available in the 1960s, they became widespread in the 1990s. The early whiteboards were slightly different than the modern ones. They needed to be wiped with a damp cloth because of the marks left behind by markers even after erasing the board. 

The lack of suitable markers created issues with reusing the whiteboards. For this reason, most people chose to use traditional chalkboards that could easily wipe clean. However, in 1975 dry-erase markers were invented by Jerry Woolf. He used non-toxic dry ink that was easy to wipe. This became the turning point in the history of whiteboards.

Rise In Popularity 

  • The popularity of whiteboards in workplaces and business spaces soared in the early 1990s. They became increasingly common in classrooms because of the potential health hazards of chalk dust in children. About 21% of American classrooms switched from chalkboards to whiteboards by the late 1990s.

Types Of Whiteboards

  • The earliest whiteboards were made of enameled steel and were very expensive. However, cheaper versions not recommended for commercial or classroom use, including high-pressure laminates, laminated chipboard, and steel boards with a matte finish, were also produced later.

Enameled Whiteboards

  • Enameled whiteboards are also known as porcelain or ceramic steel boards. While other materials tend to become stained over time, enameled whiteboards are superior because markings can be erased. For this reason, enameled whiteboards are more expensive and less commonly used in commercial environments. However, porcelain boards are standard in more demanding and heavy-use environments such as educational settings.

Adhesive Whiteboards

  • history of whiteboardsWhiteboard materials come in rolls, sheets, and pre-formed boards. Adhesive whiteboards can be bought in a sheet or roll, enabling the user to create a custom project with the material. Adhesive whiteboard materials do not come in thick, hard glass or painted steel plates. But they still provide the high-quality attributes of other surface materials. Adhesive whiteboards are popular for custom projects, including whiteboard tables, cupboard grocery lists, indoor games for kids, dry-erase wall calendars, and more. 

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Modern whiteboards are made of high-quality coatings that provide a cost-effective and easily customizable finish. They offer high visibility and no staining, even with years of usage. Due to their ease and familiarity, whiteboards will likely remain popular for decades. 

If you are looking for framed or unframed whiteboards, signature design series, or children’s whiteboards, contact New York Blackboard today. We will help you choose the best whiteboards according to your budget, usage, and setting. We have been selling handcrafted Chalkboards, Whiteboards, and Bulletin Boards since 1944. We are located in New Jersey.

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