Who Invented Chalk?

Your first encounter with chalk might have been in the classroom where you often see your teachers use them to write on a chalkboard. The most familiar form of chalk a lot of people have come familiar with is made of slender sticks around a quarter of an inch thick and about three inches long. You might even have come to wonder who invented chalk.

Who Invented Chalk
It might come as a disappointment to find out that no one can tell who invented chalk. Chalk is readily found in nature and has been used as a tool for drawing and writing for quite a long time. Drawings that date even to the prehistoric times have been discovered by archaeologists. The earliest chalk writings/drawings have been found in caves.

As time went by artists from various countries used chalk to make drawings and sketches. Their work was protected using shellac or any comparable substance. For the convenience of these artists, a major innovation was introduced – chalks shaped into sticks. Even though chalk artists can’t be credited as the ones who invented chalk, their need introduced an innovation that would last for centuries.

Making Chalk
In the same way we don’t know who invented chalk, we also don’t know who invented the method to make chalk into sticks. What we know is that the method starts by grinding natural chalk into a very fine powdery form. Water is then added along with clay and various color pigments depending on what color of chalk you want to make. The clay actually acts as a binder of some sort. The mixture will initially look something like putty that would be rolled and shaped into cylinders and then would be left to dry.

Into the Classroom
It was only during the 19th century when chalk came into use within the classroom. Teachers needed a way to transmit and convey information to classes at any one time. It became very useful and needed especially when class sizes grew bigger as the years moved on. Classrooms then didn’t only use really huge chalkboards you can find at one end of the classroom; some classes even had small chalkboards for the students.

Turning Green and Yellow
Chalkboards used be colored black thus the term ‘blackboard’ came into use. However, a significant change occurred when manufacturers started producing chalkboards out of synthetic materials. They argued that since green is easier on the eyes they started making chalkboards that are colored green. Along with that change, yellow became the preferred color of chalk.

Innovation from Nature
Though we can’t really tell who invented chalk we can clearly determine that it was an innovation from what we naturally have in our surroundings. The invention and innovation came as an answer to different needs. Other changes about how we use chalk came along as various needs were met.