How it Began: Whiteboards

Where did this revolutionary classroom item come from?

Source: Falltrum Steuerraum Whiteboard-WikipediaCommons

Source: Falltrum Steuerraum Whiteboard-WikipediaCommons

The most common object to find in a classroom, the whiteboard has been used for over a century. Created by a veteran of the Korean War, Martin Heit, found out that he could write on photographic film by using Sharpies. He later on made the first whiteboard from using the same material as the photo film. After his first whiteboard, he sold his idea to Dry-Mark company. The company started to market it to schools as a learning tool, superior to the basic blackboard. It eventually caught on and now is used everywhere from the army to daycares.

But history always has another point of view. Another version of this past is the story of an American steel producer, Albert Stallion, who worked for a company called The Alliance and one of the many products that Alliance made was a steel that had an enamel coating. This enameled steel was extremely scratch resistant, which made it the perfect product for a number of different applications, including being used as cladding.(Cladding is the application of one material over another to provide a skin or layer.)

Stallion had the idea to use this material to replace blackboards with this wondrous material but his idea didn’t go down well with his superiors. He chose to leave The Alliance and make his own company, Magiboards. At first they didn’t sell well but after chalk dust became a health concern, they flew off the shelves!

Both stories have some sort of truth within them so it’s hard to say which one is true.

From a Veteran to a American steel producer, good ideas can come from anywhere!