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Alphabet discs
Title : Alphabet discs Alphabet discs
Add To My SA Memory
Source : [Alphabet letters] [toy]
Publisher : Kendall & Son
Format : Toy
Dimensions : Cylinder 80 mm high
Contributor : State Library of South Australia
Catalogue record
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Description :

A wooden cylinder with worn label 'The picture alphabet Kendall & Son'(?) and an image of a family at play. It contains 30 discs with the letters of the alphabet on one side and a coloured illustration on the other, for example E Eagle, P Pump, I /J Jester. In addition to the 25 discs with the letters and illustrations (note that I/J are combined on one disc), there are a further 6 discs with alphabets and letter combinations.

The philosopher John Locke suggested in the late 17th century that cubes of wood with the letters of the alphabet on the sides would be a useful aid to teaching children the alphabet and guide them towards reading. The alphabet block has become a classic toy with the additional advantages of being stackable and assisting young children with hand/eye coordination and spatial development. While the flat discs may not provide quite the same possibilities for building towers and walls, very young children could carefully drop them into the cylinder, using it as a posting box.

The set of discs and the cylinder are very worn, evidence of heavy use by several generations.

Period : 1852-1883
Further reading :

Burton, Anthony. Children's pleasures: books, toys and games from the Bethnal Green Museum of Childhood, London: V & A Publications, 1996

Goldstein, Jeffrey H. (ed) Toys, play, and child development, Cambridge [England]; New York: Cambridge University Press, 1994

Hewitt, Karen. Educational toys in America, 1800 to the present, Burlington, Vt.: Robert Hull Fleming Museum, University of Vermont, c1979 [page 55 shows a very similar set]

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