JF Ptak Science Books Quick Post
I think it would be lovely if--in addition to tablets and laptops--kids in school would be doing work generating chalk dust, and physically moving wooden disks with letters/words on them, and producing that wood-over-metal sound manipulating counting beads on metallic rods. There's just something that goes on in the brain, I think, when you are able to touch something while learning—chalk on a board, fingers on a wooden peg or on pencil to paper, and so on. The pre-nostaligia for that memory is found for me in images like those that follow--beautiful engravings of teaching instruments and tools for elementary schools in France in 1860.
The engravings are the work of the prodigiously talented and very busy Caesar Daly, who in addition to writing and editing books also edited the journal Revue Generale de l'Architecture et des Travaux Publics, des architects des ingenieurs des archeologues des Industriels et de Proprietaure, these images coming from volume XVIII, printed in 1860, in the section “etablissements d'instruction primaire”.
Here's a big double-page plate, about 13x20" in real life:
And a detail of the counting beads in the upper left:
And a spelling board, with another larger counting board (the letters are stored horizontally in the bottom half of the large wooden board):