The History of the Blackboard Chalk Board

Blackboards-Chalkboards of different sizes

The blackboard was invented by James Pillans, headmaster of the Royal High School in Scotland. He used it with colored chalk to teach geography.

The chalkboard/blackboard was in use in Indian schools in the 11th century as per Alberuni’s Indica (Tarikh Al-Hind), written in the early 11th century. They used black slate tablets for the children in the schools, and wrote on them like we writon on our books today. They used calcium sulphate (chalk) as we would have done before the explosion of the chalkboard pen.

The term “blackboard” dates from around 1815 to 1825 while the newer and predominantly American term, “chalkboard” dates from 1935 to 1940.

The chalkboard was introduced into the US education system in 1801.

Compared to Whiteboards chalkboards have a variety of advantages:

  • Chalk requires no special care; whiteboard markers must be capped or else they dry out.
  • Chalk is much cheaper than whiteboard markers.
  • It is easier to draw lines of different thicknesses with chalk than it is with whiteboard markers.
  • Chalk has a no smell, whereas whiteboard markers often have a pungent odour.
  • Chalk writing often provides better contrast than whiteboard markers, which helps people read at a distance.

Patrick Huggins – Director