For a lot of us our notebooks and dayplanners are indispensable. We take them everywhere and we use them to organize our lives and jot down important ideas and thoughts. But have you ever wondered what people used for notebooks before the advent of the notebook? Well, one of those objects is the Wax Tablet:

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A Wax Tablet is a Middle Ages “book” that was made out of small frames of wood that were covered in wax. Writing something in the book required using a stylus to engrave symbols and characters into the wax. (As you can imagine, writing in wax with a pointed object requires a lot more work and pressure than the modern equivalent of putting pen to paper!)

Like modern notebooks these books were portable and were used for all manner of writing purposes. (If something really needed to be preserved it would be committed to the more expensive medium of parchment.) Through-out the middle ages these books were ubiquitous are often carried around everywhere: they were used by students, writers, and teachers; they were used for drafting speeches and mathematical proofs; for  legal records; etc.

Check out a bunch of pictures of Wax Tablets we’ve gathered from various websites below!

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For those interested there are actually quite a few tutorials online that can teach you how to create one of these!

Tell us below what you think of these books (or even just how happy you are with how far notebook-culture has come!)


About Paperblanks: We have been producing superb writing journals for nearly twenty years. We are book people, and we believe that the written word matters and that our blank books have a critical role to play in the art and continued practice of writing itself. For more about Paperblanks, go to our website at


  1. These look cool, I hate to think what might happen on a really warm and sunny day! Thank you, but I’ll stick to my modern-day paperblanks, safe in the knowledge that they won’t stick to me, lol!

    • i think the wax was recessed a bit so when the notebook closed the panels would not touch be touching, like how laptops have an indented tray design to keep the keyboards away from the screen.

      probably would wrap the book up to insulate it too, haha, in the summer.

  2. Dear Blog,
    On a similar note, My school has a Winter Wishes assembly where they grant wishes to people in the school. Basically, around the middle of november, they went around the school and gave us slips to write a wish we want for ourselves and one for a friend.

    My friend asked for me to get an acceptance letter to Hogwarts. I actually got one! It looks so legit, with the wax stamp and everything perfect.

    Other people got food, candy stuff, stuffed animals, one guy got a plane ticket to go see his grandma in Florida (we live in Washington), people got tablets, ipods, etc. It was really cool, and by far the best winter wishes we’ve had yet.

    Does your school have anything like that?
    Nice One!


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