Alphabet Blocks, 1865-1875

Summary

Mid-nineteenth-century companies drew on new technologies to produce and distribute inexpensive toys. In 1858, New York firm S. L. Hill patented "a new and Improved Spelling-Block" with imagery applied directly to the wood. Hill became the first American manufacturer to mass produce toy alphabet blocks. These popular toys helped children learn letters and numbers and practice spelling. They also served as stackable building blocks.

Mid-nineteenth-century companies drew on new technologies to produce and distribute inexpensive toys. In 1858, New York firm S. L. Hill patented "a new and Improved Spelling-Block" with imagery applied directly to the wood. Hill became the first American manufacturer to mass produce toy alphabet blocks. These popular toys helped children learn letters and numbers and practice spelling. They also served as stackable building blocks.

Artifact

Alphabet block

Date Made

1865-1875

Location

Not on exhibit to the public.

Object ID

91.0.11.491

Credit

From the Collections of The Henry Ford.

Material

Wood (Plant material)
Paper (Fiber product)

Technique

Lithography

Color

Multicolored

Dimensions

Height: 1 in

Width: 6 in

Length: 6 in

Inscriptions

box lid: Hill's Alphabet Blocks

Connect 3

Discover curious connections between artifacts.

Learn More