Weaving for the Little Folks
Paperboard box with chromolithograph lid, 7.5 x 5.5 x 1 inches. Box with some rubbing and wear, but stable and intact. Contains 9 completed mats and an additional assortment of cut strips. With original metal "needle" and double-sided sheet of printed directions.
Milton Bradley No. 4213. no date given. The Strong National Museum of Play dates a similar Froebel-inspired novelty (Drawing Teacher, No. 4232) to 1867, and an Alamy database image of the lid is dated 1860s. However, in a search of 10 available MB catalogues published between 1872-1916, this particular title only appears in the 1907 "Milton Bradley Company's Catalogue of Games and Novelties" (p. 121). Although it's possible the catalog was marketing backstock, 1907 is the first and only dated appearance we could find (including searches through Bradley's "Kindergarten Review" and other education periodicals).
Milton Bradley began manufacturing materials for Froebel's gifts after becoming acquainted with Elizabeth Peabody, education advocate and founder of the first English language kindergarten, in the 1860s. Over the decades, Bradley's economic incentive broadened his enterprise to a range of arts and crafts supplies that became increasingly removed from the 20 original Froebel Gifts and Occupations. Based on Gift 14, "Weaving for the Little Folks" is an excellent example of Bradley producing Froebel material in unadulterated form.