Hardboard may have first originated in the late 1800s in England. This early form of hardboard consisted of pressed waste paper. It was not until the 1900s that hardboard was made from wood pulp, as it is today. Hardboard has several advantages that make it a good material in construction.
One clear advantage of hardboard is its price. Hardboard is less expensive than plywood, a bonus if you're on a tight budget.
Its smooth surface means that you can use hardboard for making furniture and cabinetry, then cover it with paint. Once you paint the hardboard, no one will be able to tell that you did not use wood or plywood.
One form of hardboard, oil tempered hardboard, is stiff and resistant to being scratched.
Hardboard can be processed in such a way that it is textured, embossed, veneered or backed with plastic. This helps make hardboard useful for a wide range of projects.