Fitch Number Cards (Milton Bradley #8019)
Complete set of 36 cards in the original paperboard box. Each card measures 6 x 11.25 inches; box measures 6.5 x 11.75 x 1.25 inches. Two cards (8 & 24) have tape reinforcement, otherwise, the cards are in Very Good condition with age toning, creasing and light handling wear. Box in Fair to Good condition: edges with old cloth tape reinforcement, fairly battered but sturdy. Writing in old crayon on the bottom of the box "Property of Emma A. Fisher, Race Street, Pottsville Pa."
Joshua Girling Fitch (1824-1903) was an English educationist and co-author of Cornwell and Fitch's School Arithmetic, published under various titles beginning in the 1870s. The authors promoted an "inductive" approach to teaching arithmetic based on using practical examples: "Example: A man has twenty sheep and seven of them die; how many has he left?" (The Science of Arithmetic, 1878, p32)
Fitch Number Cards started appearing in the late 1800s but were widely produced and heavily marketed by Milton Bradley starting around 1907—notably, after Fitch's death. Valuable as both teaching aids and aesthetic objects for the classroom, they were initially offered as a set or could be purchased individually for a penny each. From the 1907 Bradley's Souvenir Catalogue Prepared Especially for Graduates of Training and Normal School:
“Every primary instructor must teach the combinations in addition and subtraction and she must find some means of placing these combinations before her class in concrete form. The Fitch Number Cards provide an interesting and effective method for such exercises. The combinations from 1 to 9 inclusive are used, making a set of thirty-six cards. But, while the combinations of addition have been expressed, the cards can be used equally well in teaching subtraction. The subjects are varied, including many children's games and numerous forms of animal life. The objects are grouped in such a way as to admit of being calculated at a glance. In appearance the cards are unique, interesting and artistic. They are of such form and size that they are convenient, easily handled, readily seen from all parts of the room, and in subject matter well adapted to the child mind.”
Milton Bradley continued to produce Fitch Number Cards into the 1920s, their popularity peaking in the 1910s. Despite their popularity, examples of the cards are now scarce, and no holdings are located in OCLC.