Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

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Dean and Son

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1929. British Industries Fair catalogue.
June 1929.

of Debrett House, 29 King Street, Covent Garden, London, WC2. T.A.: "Debrett, Fleet, London". Telephone: Holborn 119. (1922)

Ditto Address. Telephone: Regent 6543-4. Cables: "Debrett, Rand, London". (1929)

of 61 High Path, Merton, London, SW19. Telephone: LIberty 2244. Cables: "Aywuntoys, London". (1947)

  • Dean and Son was the first publisher to produce movable books on a large scale.
  • Thomas Dean, who founded the firm sometime before 1800, was one of the first publishers to take full advantage of the new printing process, lithography, which was invented in Germany in 1798. His business was devoted exclusively to making and selling novelty books, or "toy" books, a term publishers began using in the early nineteenth century.
  • 1847 His son George became a partner, and their toy books took over the market from the 1840s to the 1880s.
  • Dean opened studios in London where teams of artists worked to design and craft all kinds of new and complex movables.
  • Around 1856, Dean released a series of fairy tales and adventure stories under the title New Scenic Books. The scenes in the books were crafted in a "peep show" style. Each was illustrated on at least three cut-out sections. The sections were placed one behind another and attached by a ribbon running through them. This way, they could stay together and be folded flat as flaps, face down against a page. When a readers lifted a flap, a three-dimensional scene would pop-up.
  • The books in new scenic series are probably the first that today's readers would consider pop-up books, although the term "pop-up" was yet to be used to describe such books. "Movable" or "toy book" was usually the choice for description.
  • In 1860, Dean claimed to be the "originator" of movable books. During the 1860s, Dean can be credited with inventing another first: the use of a mechanism that moved or was animated by pulling a tab. Dean advertised the new mechanisms as "living pictures."
  • Another Dean series, Home Pantomime Toy Books, contains beautiful chromolithographs. The illustrated pages in these books are of different sizes; and, as the pages are turned, part of the visible scene changes, thereby changing the subject matter of the entire image.
  • 1922 British Industries Fair Advert for Dean's Toy Books - Large Variety: Toy Books; Painting Books; Drawing Books; Stencil Books. Also: Paint Boxes, Story Books, Jig-saw Puzzles, Drawing Slates, Cubes. (Stand No. F.33) [1]
  • 1929 British Industries Fair Advert for Dean's Children's Books - A Large Variety. Manufacturers of Toy Books, Painting Books, Stencil Books, Story Books, Cricket Scoring Books, Painting Books, Dissecting Puzzles, Pictures, Debrett's Peerage, etc. Paper Makers' Directory of all Nations. Gardening Books. Children's Plays. Cookery Books, etc. (Toys, Games and Baby Carriages Section - Stand No. 36) [2]
  • 1947 British Industries Fair Advert as Publishers of Children's Books. Also as 'manufacturers of playthings with a world-wide reputation, beautiful soft-stuffed hygienic dolls, toys, plush animals, teddy bears, etc.' (Toys and Games Section - Olympia, 3rd Floor, Stand No. K.2401) [3]

See Also

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  • [1] UNT Libraries

Sources of Information

  1. 1922 British Industries Fair Advert lxiii; and p21
  2. 1929 British Industries Fair Advert 207; and p48
  3. 1947 British Industries Fair Advert 498; and p80