Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Victorian Alphabet Tiles

Found at an antique store last weekend was this great set of Victorian alphabet tiles, in their original box with sliding cover. The wooden box is 9 inches long, and each lithographed tile is 2 1/4 inches wide by 1/8 of an inch thick.

 A lovely old typeface on these...

Here are a few close-ups of some of the tiles:

"G" is for "girl", with a dolly, of course!

"Z" was a surprise: I expected it to be the typical zebra, but no:
it's actually, and unusually, an adjective!

"U" and "V" are a combined tile, with very sober subject matter 
(a funeral carriage).

My favorite tile was this one, "H" is for "horse". Look closely: "horse" is misspelled, which is rather ironic, considering these tiles were intended to teach children to read...


  1. What a terrific find! Thanks for posting these for all of us to enjoy. That misspelling is a doozy!

  2. These are fantastic! I may have to make a mini version for myself :)

  3. Thanks! Let me know if there are other letters you'd like to see, and I'll post or email 'em...

  4. What a great set! The zany joker has a very interesting face, and the urn and van seem a typically Victorian subject, but another interesting use of words - I can't actually see an urn, but perhaps they were so automatically linked with vans / carriages of this kind that the child would know it was there? (Is it meant to be an urn for cremated remains? or a masonry urn that goes on a grave? or ..??)
    I'd love to see more of the letters and pictures, particularly others that are not so obvious to modern minds.
    (Perhaps the typesetter could not actually read well himself?)

  5. Will do: I'll scan and add some more tile pictures, but it'll be a week or so before I can get to them. Glad you're enjoying them! :)