By Andrew Liszewski
Banging together a couple of chalkboard erasers was always a fun way to annoy your fellow students, though it did come with the unwanted side effect of filling your lungs with chalk dust. But with today’s computer filled classrooms, chalk dust is an even bigger problem, so a Kawasaki-based company called Nihon Rikagaku has developed a new type of high-quality dustless chalk by mixing finely crushed scallop shells with the traditional chalk ingredient, calcium carbonate.
With a 10% mixture of the scallop shells, the crystals in the shell powder work as a cement holding the chalk together better, and the new recipe is win-win since scallop farmers have a hard time disposing of the shells, whereas now there’s a practical use for them. And it seems the new recipe also allows for considerably brighter colors compared to the desaturated, washed out tones we used when I was in school. You kids and your fancy colors! Spoiled I tells you!