Office Whiteboards & Accessories

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Office Whiteboards & Accessories

The benefits of office whiteboards

Whiteboards are a superb addition to any office. The ability to wipe ink from the whiteboard's surface ensures that you minimise your carbon footprint by not having to go through endless reams of paper during presentations. However, there are other benefits to using whiteboards and whiteboard accessories in the office.

  • The process of writing on a whiteboard has been described as integral to kinaesthetic learning. In effect, this means that the act of getting up and using the board to write engages the body and the mind. As a result, research has found that using whiteboards in the office can help participants retain and understand information much better.
  • When it comes to interactivity and collaboration, whiteboards have the edge over paper and computer monitors. Being able to cope with multiple users, they’re the perfect medium for group projects and engaging with your staff.
  • Office brainstorming sessions are where office whiteboards come into their own. With the ability to wipe away anything written down, ideas and plans can evolve quickly and organically.
  • While e-whiteboards have found their way into IT classes, their traditional counterparts are far easier to use. With no need for tech skills, passwords, or software, they allow you to make the most of the working day without worrying about anyone's technological abilities. On top of that, you don't even have to think about power outages or what's been written falling foul of viruses or hackers.
  • Many office whiteboards are magnetic, allowing you to use them as bulletin boards or to display paperwork during brainstorming sessions. There are plenty of magnetic whiteboard accessories allowing your whiteboard to be as interactive and engaging as possible.

 

While old-school blackboards might hold a certain dusty sentimentality for those of a certain age, it’s that very dust that had been causing problems. A study by the National University of Kaohsiung found that, back in the day, “chalk dust was the primary source of indoor coarse particles." The university's research found that continued exposure to chalk does lead to "effects caused due to calcium carbonate and calcium sulphate in the chalk dust,” including “include eye irritation, skin irritation, irritation in the respiratory tract,” and irritation of the mucous membrane. It was also found that chronic exposure to the dust had the potential to give rise to damage to the liver and lungs.

 

Who invented the office whiteboard?

As with all the best inventions, there is some dispute over who created the whiteboard. The most popular theory is that they're down to a photographer named Martin Heit. A photographer, he apparently noticed that he could write on the backs of photographic negatives using a marker. What really caught his eye was that these notes could be wiped away. Taking the idea a stage further, he created a small board, made from wipeable material, that he put on the wall next to his telephone and used to write notes from clients. He planned to unveil his innovation at an industry market in Chicago. However, the night before whiteboards were set to conquer the Earth, the venue burnt down, taking his creation with it. The story goes that he sold the patent for whiteboards to a company called Dr-Mark, who sold the invention to schools.

However, an engineer called Albert Stallion is also caught up in whiteboard mythology. Working for a steel manufacturer in the 1960s, he had the exact eureka moment as Heit, noticing that marker pen could be wiped clean from steel coated in enamel. Although he presented his discovery to the company, they had no interest in the idea. As a result, he quit his job and set up his own business, Magi Boards which, again, targeted schools as the primary market for his idea.

Despite Heit’s and Stallion’s claims to fame, their versions of the whiteboard had to be wiped clean with a damp cloth. It wasn’t until 1975 that a scientist, Jerry Woolf, working for Techform Laboratories, created a non-toxic, quick-drying ink that could be wiped off with a dry rag. The development of whiteboard markers established office whiteboards and whiteboard accessories as an essential facility for schools and offices worldwide. However, it took at least a decade before they fully caught on and cemented their position as an office staple.

 

How are office whiteboards made?

Although whiteboards are part of the furniture in any 21st Century office, the way they’re made hasn’t changed drastically over the years. Typically, whiteboards are made from steel, glass, or melamine. Each has its own particular properties, which may influence your choice when buying a new one.

  • Steel boards tend to be the heaviest type of whiteboard. Sometimes the steel is coated in polyester laminate, porcelain, or even tempered glass. Whiteboards made from steel tend to be able to withstand the greatest amounts of wear and tear and are resistant to scratching and staining.
  • Glass whiteboards are the latest addition to the whiteboard family. Non-porous, they make cleaning the surface simplicity itself while boasting the durability of their steel equivalents.
  • Melamine whiteboards are among the most common, found in schools and offices everywhere. While they're affordable, they tend to be made from MDF coated in plastic resin. Over time, this can result in staining, as the ghosts of previous notes and diagrams leach into the resin. However, as a short-term option, melamine boards are a superb office solution.