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Allen's Education Table
Date: 1849-1851
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Medium: Wood
Dimensions: Overall: 7/8 x 13 5/8 x 4 in. ( 2.2 x 34.6 x 10.2 cm )
Place made: North America, United States
Description: Spelling tool consisting of rectangular wooden board with 27 vertical grooves for storing blocks with raised letters and symbols (painted black) opening into horizontal groove for moving blocks, and 2 horizontal grooves at bottom for spelling words; incomplete assortment of letters, an ampersand and a hyphen.
Object Number: Z.1312
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In 1849, a U.S. patent (6407) was issued to Edwin Allen for the invention of his "Education Table." By moving the blocks with letters or numbers through the grooves, the user of this device could spell words or solve mathmatical problems. Though the popularity of Allen's invention was shortlived, other educational inventions of this period, like cast iron school desks with swivel seats, had long lasting effects.