Wednesday, December 26, 2018

the Boys' Own Toy-maker

Barbara Bauer alerted me to an article that alerted me to a website to a book, The Boy's Own Toy-Maker, E. Landells, 1860.

With Christmas over and the shower of manufactured stuff having passed and perhaps begun to wear off, perhaps a few children will return to the wonderful things they can make for themselves. I know at least one Clear Spring School student was receiving tools for Christmas. Her mother told me so. Landells says of his book,
"This is a boy's book in which the author has tried with his pen and pencil, to teach some useful things for the pleasant time of play hours. It is a plain book, which he hopes will be easily understood by any boy old enough to be trusted with such common tools as a penknife or a pair of scissors, and still be equally suited for the pastime of those who, of riper age, aspire to manlier amusement."
Of course the contents of the book could be just as well used by girls, but that thought would not fit so well in the time it was written. The book also points to the practical value of the toys children have made in the development of their intelligence for later things.
"All children in a degree love to construct, and this surely points to a most practical means of conveying instruction when you provide amusement. The boy engaged in making a toy-house becomes half an architect in the knowledge acquired of the names and uses of forms and materials which, without a model, he could hardly comprehend. How he forms a tiny boat or cutter, and rigs it himself, acquires a familiarity with every rope and spar that belongs to the vessel he acquires a knowledge which, without going so far as the island desert, may any day of life be of valuable service to him who inhabits an island home. Knowledge is power; the more practical it is the more powerful will it be for our good and for that of our fellow-beings, and it is hoped that our young readers will have reason to remember with a kindly regard among the thousand common circumstances of life, the instruction imparted in these pages."
Enough said, perhaps. A few wise words ought to suffice, if given to the wise. Given the state of America education, likely it will not.

Make, fix and create...

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