This is a larger set of colorful early 1900’s lithographed blocks (seven blocks versus 5 blocks). Considered an early learning device, these turn of the century alphabet blocks were made of chromolithographed paper on hard pressed cardboard, with scenes of children’s themes seen in fairy tales, or children at whimsical play, and so designed to “stack” them in a particular alphabetical order or spelling game. When finished playing with, they were put away, in descending order, one block inside the other and condensed into the largest block, thus the term “nesting blocks” was used. Look at the excellent detail in the lithography, and some of the children’s phraseology used:
“See-Saw Up and Down”
“Mary and Her Pet Lamb”
“The Little General”
“Nothing Left for Fido”
Judging by the block with the open air touring car “Off for A Joy Ride” (see image) we can date the blocks to about 1910.
These are probably of American manufacture by one of the two major toy companies like Bliss or McLoughlin, who produced these educational types of game and toy items.
This is a COMPLETE set with all (7) blocks and images on all sides of all of the blocks intact; bright, clear, and colorful (see images), albeit some normal wear to the edges from use and play. There is no restoration or touch up paint to any of the surfaces—they are all original. It is very hard to find a complete set, because of the young age of children using these; they would have damaged or lost a block here and there, due to their rough play; which makes this set unique; a delightful piece of Americana.
Dimensions: 32″ high (when stacked); the base block is 4 1/2″ square x 5 1/2″ high. The top block is 2″ x 2″ x 5″. The other blocks graduate in size between those two top and bottom blocks.