This spring, an 80-year-old Japanese chalk company went out of business. Nobody, perhaps, was as sad to see the company go as mathematicians who had become obsessed with Hagoromo Fulltouch Chalk, the so-called “Rolls Royce of chalk.”
With whiteboards and now computers taking over classrooms, the company’s demise seemed to mark the end of an era.
This isn’t just a story about a dead chalk company—it’s the story of a dead medium, the chalkboard, now being superseded by whiteboards and tablets. But it’s not hard to see chalk having old-fashioned appeal, much like vinyl records and mason jars.