JF Ptak Science Books Quick Post
That snarky little title simply references this fine collection of shapes for the schoolroom, objects for their own sake, to help kids understand form and its relationships. The were actually 200 wooden of them in a 6'x4' display case sold as a teacher's aid by the Canadian Charles Baillairges:
We read in the promotional/instructional that comes with the blocks:
"In a large number of schools in Germany the pupils are taught from the time they commence the alphabet to judge of color and geometrical form by the regular use and comparison of colored slips and small blocks of wood representing the elementary principles which will in after years be called into study. The advantages of this early manifest all of the superiority of this..." The blocks "comprising so to say all the elementary forms their segments and sections and numerous other solids both simple and compound" and that "the instruction conveyed by this tableau appealing as it does to the uneducated eye and mind is the inventor thinks destined to be of great use in developing the intelligence of the beginner and the untaught masses of mankind."
I found this image and nearly-identical text (without attribution) in the Scientific American for June 7, 1872.