Saturday, November 21, 2015
“Hornbooks” served as primers for children's education from the fourteenth to the eighteenth centuries. The name referred to a page displaying the alphabet, religious materials, or other short texts, covered with a transparent sheet of horn and attached to a frame provided with a handle. Some were quite clever. The one (above), dating from the eighteenth century, features an abacus and supports simple calculations. The wooden slab (below) could be used to bake a gingerbread. Children could be rewarded for learning how to read a word by being allowed to bite it off and eat it.