The Home Menagerie - unrecorded toy book that forms a cage and 9 animal scenes Forbes & C. 1883

Rare Forbes Lithograph co. movable toy book
The Home Menagerie - antique toy book

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The Home Menagerie

Forbes Co., Boston & New York

Patented by Howard Hoppin and Aurthur Brown Oct. 2, 1883

Unique unrecorded toy book with 9 beautiful lithographs of animals and a corresponding story about each. The book’s cover has flaps that open to reveal a wire cage. Directions to turn the book into a cage are included. As you turn each page up and secure it with the holder you have a caged zoo scene shown behind a real wire cage residing behind the movable flaps on the front cover.

A patent for this book was taken out in 1883 by Howard Hoppin and Aurthur Brown
It describes a book that be converted to a “miniature cage”
As far as we know, this is the only book created from that patent and the only toy book that we have seen from Forbes. No other copies are found anywhere else online.

Comes with original Directions as read below:

“First open the book to form a cage, tying the strings on the sides to the front wall. The sheets should be all held up by the catch at the top of the back wall, except the introduction, which should lay flat in the bottom of the cage. In this introduction, the young showman reads first, and after the words So please to give your attention " allows the next sheet to drop, opens the doors of the cage so that they rest flat against the front, and fastens them there by the hooks on the inside of the front by bringing these hooks out beyond the edge and springing over the top of the door. After finishing the description of each animal (the picture of which is visible to the audience while he reads the text) he allows the next sheet to drop by moving the lever at the back until the small catch is in a line with the hole in the sheet; the sheet will then drop. The description of each animal will be at the bottom of the cage while the picture of the animal itself is visible to the audience. When finished and desiring to repeat, the sheets must be placed back on the catch one by one, moving the lever until in each case the catch and the hole in the sheet correspond.”

Condition – Very Good, all but one has the original tissue paper protectors between the pages. Lithographs are undamaged. Holes at top open but the original clasp still holds them. Most original wires present including all cage bars, clasp, main hooking wire, and one of two wire hooks on top. We don’t see where this book ever had tie strings as stated in the directions. Perhaps they were replaced by the long hook wire which is not mentioned but definitely original to the book (see photo) and works to do the same thing. All binding still holding strong with only damage on the back cover top left binding – see photo. All in all an excellent copy of an exceedingly rare book.

Collectors Corner:

About the publisher: Boston: Forbes & Co., Lith., 159 Washington St.

Known as The Forbes Lithograph Manufacturing Company, Forbes was most famous for posters. According to the publication “Poster Advertising Association, Incorporated, 1912” page 34 – it was founded in 1862 and grew to be one of the largest Lithograph companies in the Unites states.

Historical note from Temple University :

“The Forbes Lithograph Manufacturing Company was founded by William H. Forbes and located in Boston, Massachusetts with branches in New York and Chicago, and an agent in London. Their work included lithography, embossing, type and block printing, plate printing, photography, and photolithography.”

According to the book “Goods for Sale: Products and Advertising in the Massachusetts Industrial Age” published inb 2007, page 22:

“ William H. Forbes started his business in 1862 in two rooms on Wash ington Street. Fifteen years later his company employed nearly five hundred workers, producing billheads, tickets, labels, theater posters and playbills, as well as engravings Of famous paintings. Forbes manufactured the trade cards for many Massachusetts companies, including Chase's Liquid Glue, Chase & Sanborn Coffee, and the Boston & Hingham Steamboat Company. In 1884 the Forbes Lithographic Manufacturing Company moved to Chelsea, where it occupied eighteen buildings. The company continued to grow, opening offices in Other American cities as well as in London. Forbes did well during the first half Of the twentieth century, even producing banknotes for the Free French government during World War ll. The company was sold in the 1960s and closed its Chelsea plant. “

According to the publication “Boston: An Old City with New Opportunities” published by the Boston Chamber of Commerce in 1922 on page 67:

(By 1922) “ Forbes had expanded from Boston and New York into Rochester, Chicago, Philadelphia, and Detroit and employed 1,100 workers. The article also stated “Forbes produces every description of printing needed by a business house: stationery for the office, cartons for marketing of products, posters, hangers. car car(ls and will(low displays, booklets, folders, enrds, fans, and novelties for advertising. Calendars and Art subjects of all descriptions. “

Other notes:

About the patent holder:
Howard Hoppin (1856–1940) was an American architect from Providence, Rhode Island.

Famous impressionist painter Edmund Charles Tarbell apprenticed at the Forbes co. from 1887 - 1880

Product Code: A-61

Unique Antique Vintage Movable TOY Book