It’s a common perception that whiteboards are primarily used in classrooms and lecture halls at all levels of education. But did you know that despite being designed for the education world, the business sector was the first to embrace them, and that their history can be traced back to 1937?
That’s part of the history of dry erase boards related by Ernie Smith, editor of the online article site Tedium.
Smith notes how Martin Heit and Albert Stallion are commonly credited with inventing what we know today as whiteboards in the 1950s, and that those products were commercialized in the 1960s. But he offers evidence that whiteboards were around much longer – created as an alternative to chalkboards and as a way to eliminate the dust associated with chalkboard use.
While people liked the white surface as compared to blackboards, cleaning a whiteboard surface could be a challenge in the early years. The solution to that problem came with the invention of dry erase markers, with ink that stays somewhat moist so it can be easily wiped off of a board.
Businesses quickly embraced dry erase boards for planning, brainstorming and scheduling, but it wasn’t until the 1990s that schools started converting to whiteboards.
EVERWhite’s line of whiteboard for schools and businesses was launched in 1999, based on the development of a proprietary non-porous surface that marker ink cannot penetrate.
Today, despite the availability of interactive boards, traditional whiteboards are still a very common site in classrooms and business settings.
Smith notes that, “Whiteboards became a tool for collecting the storms of our brains in groups, a powerful element of discussion that went far beyond what we could do with paper and pen alone. And even in an era of screens, sometimes the handwriting just carries more power.”