What Ever Became of…Chalkboards?


Every invention, you could argue, comes with tradeoffs. It does certain things well, and other things, not so much; that or there can be unintentional side effects. The chalkboard gets dusty, they can be hard to clean and hard to see the writing on if they aren’t clean, and of course there is the whole cringe inducing scraping sound. But, the replacements aren’t all that much better; they have shortcomings of their own. White boards can be just as hard to clean, the markers that don’t stink at writing are expensive, they can dry out quickly, and chalk comes in even more colors than the dry erase markers do. Now what about the highlight of today’s tech, the ‘Smart Board?” These things are just terrible, slow pens that lag and draw off target, that make text that looks like a 5 year old art project in Microsoft Paint–but they are smart and high tech!

It seems like the only place where chalkboards still find use is with crafty art projects where you paint chalkboard paint on something that isn’t even a board! Should chalkboards come back? Are the alternatives really better? What ever happened to the chalkboard?


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  • OA5599

    Still in use at bars and restaurants, either as sidewalk signs or hanging on the wall where they take your order.

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  • windbuechse

    We have them in the kids area of our reception rooms. It helps keep them occupied until we drag them back into the operatory.

  • Chalk dust sux, that's what. If you have any kind of respiratory problem chalk dust will make you miserable, if you don't and work with chalk every day you'll likely develop one. Chalk dust dries out your hands, every school teacher I know has chalk dust in everything they own and a bottle of moisturizer nearby.

    "Dustless Chalk" really isn't; it just makes coarser dust that doesn't float around the room so much. You'll still find your shoes full of it at the end of the day.

  • The Professor

    Reprogram an Emma? Hah! Good luck with that, Bartholomew. I'd be happy if I could convince one of them to stop using my office as their personal Shouting and Stomping room.