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.
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.
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