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Slates were used extensively in all schools. The hard slate material was generally set in a wooden frame, and writing was done with the aid of a slate pencil, also a piece of slate, which was sharpened to a point. The slate pencil made a mark of grayish silver on the slate, but could easily be erased with a cloth. Victorian children were expected to bring a sponge or rag to wipe it, but many just used their sleeves. The slate was used because paper was expensive, but it had several disadvantages. Obviously work done on a slate could not be retained. It could not even be taken home for homework or revision, since it would smudge so easily. In addition the slate, and more so, the slate pencil could break if dropped.
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