I collect exclusively German toys (as really the Germans did them best), but I found this complete set of blocks -- made in the USA -- and couldn't resist. They come in their original wooden box, with sliding lid, which is your first clue as to age.
These blocks were made as an educational toy to help children learn their alphabet and learn to read. One side of each block has a black and white paper lithograph attached showing a word and picture describing the word using common items from the time in which they lived . . . ferry boat, stable, ice cart, page, omnibus, cooper, log cabin, etc. What would we put on blocks today . . . yacht, garage, ice machine? These pictures are a wonderful clue to determine age of the set of blocks.
The other sides of the blocks are painted in white or red background with either numbers, Roman numerals or letters of the alphabet under which is written a simple word beginning with the corresponding letter . . . such as S is for "sin." Today it could be S is for "shutdown" or S is for "sequester"!
The blocks were made ca. 1850s by Hill's who were the first American manufacturer to produce blocks in mass quantity.
Welcome to Living Tastefully’s “Antique of the Week” page. Our love of antiques is reflected in every aspect of our everyday lives. We are passionate about collecting and also love functional antiques that can actually be used and not only admired. Hopefully we can inspire you to incorporate antiques in your home and your life to add charm and beauty to your surroundings.