The History of Chalk
The word chalk comes from the Latin word ‘calx’ for limestone. Chalk also comes from limestone. Most of the chalk/limestone today was created almost 100 million years ago. This soft white porous sedimentary rock occurs naturally deep under the sea where dead organic skeletons and shells accumulate to make limestone. Humans have been using it for a various tasks for centuries. This mineral is extremely abundant, and it is widely mined all over the world. (Wes Alwan, 2012)
Chalk existed millions of years ago. It was first seen used in prehistoric times. According to archaeologists, it helped to create some of the earliest cave drawings. Later on, artists used chalk mainly for sketches, protected with shellac or a similar substance, have survived. When artists make their own chalk, they would add colour pigments to make more vivid colours. The difference in colours occur due to the range of impurities in the chalk. Carbon, for example, was used to enhance black, and ferric oxide created a more vivid red. (Unknown,2014)
Chalk did not become standard in schools until the 19th century, when class sizes began to increase. Not only did instructors use large blackboards, but students also had individual chalkboards with chalk sticks and a sponge or cloth to use as an eraser. Pens and ink were the preferred tool for writing a final copy, but these were reserved for older students. At this time paper was expensive and rarely used. (Unknown,2014)
Chalk and blackboards are still the standard in classrooms today. Some alternate ways are available, but are patterned after the chalk and blackboard principle. For example - dry erase boards. They can be seen as a substitute for chalk and a blackboard. Chalk can be used for many other things, outside of classroom use (see "Usage" for more information). It is still used as a medium for art with more variety and detail put into the work.