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Designs that have changed the world. The school.

19 / 10 / 2020

If there is a field where new ideas emerge, that is undoubtedly the school.

The objects we find in them aim to boost the creativity of the younger ones, in addition to favoring hygiene and comfort.

But do we know the history of the objects that have been side by side with our little ones throughout generations? Following our review of the designs that have changed the world, today we remember several we can find in schools.

Blackboard: Although nowadays we find more digital blackboards and tablets, the blackboard is still one of the defining elements of classrooms all around the world.  

Already in the 18th century students were using individual boards made of slate or painted wood. But it was in 1800 that a Scottish director, James Pillans, had the idea of hanging them on the wall and creating a huge board with all of them. This enabled his pupils to learn how to draw maps!

Mecanno: Although you might not believe it, this famous game is more than 100 years old. It was invented by Frank Hornby in the year 1901. The idea originated during a trip in which he observed the industries of his native Liverpool, where he came up with a toy that would show his children the basics of mechanical engineering. This toy represented a change of paradigm in the Western world and the new faith in progress, based on science and technology.

Chupa-Chups: Enric Bernat observed at the beginning of the 20th century that sweets made children’s hands dirty, as they constantly took them out of their mouths. For this reason, he conceived a sweet with a wooden stick that he patented in 1958.

In the 1960s the wooden stick was replaced by a plastic one and its logo was modified by Salvador Dalí.

Lego: Originally from Denmark, this is one of the most famous game sets all around the world. Although nowadays its pieces are made of plastic, wood was the origin of Lego. Its creator, Olé Kirk Christiansen, was a carpenter in a small village in Denmark. He ended up building toys for his children made of wooden pieces, realizing their educational capacity.

The slide: Nowadays the slide is associated with play and fun, but its origin is very related to work. It was used in the first aqueducts, for builders to slide from the top to the ground. A way of saving time and preventing accidents.

It was in 1923 when the American Herbert Selner saw the chance of using these structures for the fun of young and old and created the “Water-Tobogan-Slide”. The first construction was made of wood and people used to sled down into a lake.

Crayola colored pencils: One of the basic elements in all schools are crayons. Although it is not possible to say exactly who was the creator of these colored pencils, research points to the Parisian lithographer Joseph Lemercier. However, the Americans Binney & Smith were the ones to launch the first non-toxic version of Crayola pencils in 1903. The name of the brand comes from the French: craie (chalk) and oléagineux (oily). Their presence is so extended in so many countries that these colored pencils are known as “crayon.”

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