Schoenhut was an American toy company based in Philadelphia which began production in 1872. They are famed for their toy pianos, Humpty Dumpty Circus playset and figures, and many other fine toys.
The Alphies, first patented in 1916, are five inch tall wooden blocks with lithographed paper characters on both sides. One side depicts "Alphie Dollies," the other an "Alphie Zoo." Each character bears a letter of the alphabet on its front.
The Alphies were intended as multi-purpose playthings, as depicted in the possibilities shown on the box cover. They could be used to practice the alphabet and spelling; for stacking and building; and could even be set up as a bowling game, using the included wooden balls.
The lithography on the character blocks is gorgeous; here are some of my favorite pieces.
|A tiger sipping soda.|
|"O" ogles "P."|
|A frantic looking frog.|
|"D" is for dolly.|
|An alligator in an apron.|