The Speaking Picture Book. A New Picture Book with Characteristical
[Germany] [Theodor Brand] circ: 1880’s
Chromolithographed Box holds eight beautiful
full-page chromolithograph illustrations . Pages mounted to the top of a wooden sound box which
reproduces the sounds of animals, with the
pull of a string. When the string is pulled, the child hears the sound of the
animal that appears in the illustration. The remarkably lifelike sounds are
made by a series of bellows, paper reeds and pipes hidden within the box. The sounds include a donkey, a cock, a cow, a goat,
lambs, birds, a cuckoo and two of children calling for their ‘Mamma’ and
Illustrations and text pages are in beautiful
condition.There are 9 holes but 2 don't have either tabs or strings.
There are 7 tabs with strings - all work to move their respective bellow.
of the tab strings make animal noise, one is faint but obviously a cow
and another is so faint that I could not get a decent sound after 3-4
All 8 bellows are present. The one bellow without a sting
attached looks complete but has duct tape on it. I tried to push on
it a bit to see if it made the bird noise but heard nothing. Sounds
comes out of 6 out of 8 bellows when pushed.
Edgewear on book corners. Text pages in great condition without chipping.
(12 1/5 x 9 1/2 in; 32 x 24 cm)
Sold by FAO Schwartz, 39-41 West 23rd St, New
York, Printed in Germany. Red cloth
binding with color illustration on front, carved gold gilt painted wooden sides. Stated eighteenth edition.
In the late 19th
century, this book would have cost the
equivalent of $250 in today’s dollars. English editions such as this were sold at the FAO Schwartz toy store in New York City.
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The Speaking Picture
Book was first produced in Nuremberg, Germany, by publisher
Theodore Brand, the book’s inventor. Brand obtained a German patent for the
book in 1878, and a British patent followed a year later. In addition to the
German edition, English, French and Spanish editions were published.
deadmedia.org, “This Victorian toy,
primitive though it is, is probably still the best synthetic speech toy to
reach the market, and was certainly the predecessor of the Vocoder and of
modern electronic voice synthesizers.”
‘The piece de resistance of
any collection of movables, or toy-books for that matter, is surely The
Speaking Picture Book (c. 1893), an item of such charm and fascination that
even the most blasé modern parents or their children can hardly fail to be captivated
by it. Stored in an ordinary brown cardboard box, this ‘Special Book with
Picture, Rhyme and Sound for Little People’ is a delight to handle,
eye-catching in appearance, and quite remarkably authentic in the sounds it
(Peter Haining, Movable Books An Illustrated History,
New English Library Ltd., 1979)