[Wind-up picture alphabet book in a barrel.]
[n.p., n.d., ca. 1880s.]. Companies like McLoughlin Bros. in New York and Milton Bradley in Massachusetts employed creative formats for alphabet books during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. These interactive books were often printed on linen, and treated with oil, since fabric was more durable than the cheap paper used in mass printing. The present item is an unusual book that introduces an element of tactile play to learning the alphabet. Oilcloth scroll (48 x 2”) that winds into wooden barrel (2”x 3”) with a metal hand crank. Each letter illustrated with an engraving (alligator, black bear, “Fannie caught in the rain”). Wooden barrel with label at one end mostly worn away. Wear to a few inches at one end of tape (the “A” end), but the rest is quite attractive and well-preserved within the barrel. A very good, fully functional example of this rare alphabet book. Item #17456
While McLoughlin, Milton Bradley, and other companies were distributing these alphabet books, the Educational Toy Manufacturing Company, also in Massachusetts, experimented with a movable metal multiplication tool “Consul the Educated Monkey,” and British company H.G. Clarke released their “Magic Toymaker” booklet, which could be assembled into a paper puppet. These books utilized the concept of learning through play, a staple of early childhood education since Friedrich Froebel innovated the kindergarten in the first decades of the nineteenth century.