London: Dean & Son, 11 Ludgate Hill, 1859. Poor. Stiff card wraps. Item #18739
4to. Bound in thin card with covers printed in color. 16 pp., printed on one side only, with eight full page hand-colored illustrations showing Punch and Judy, et al., in the upper portion with text and drummer below. Each plate has moveable parts operated by a lever at the foot which operates the movement in the upper window; in addition 3 of the drummers move when the tabs are activated. The drummers on the remaining pages have their arms in the form of tabs which fit into a slit in the page. They are affixed on the other side. There is nothing to suggest that they were ever intended to move. To the best of our knowledge all copies of this title have all puppets movable but only three drummers. It is as though Dean had intended to make them all movable but gave up on the idea. Later printing of this work have the drummers all immovable, printed on the page with the text reset to go around the illustrations.
This is a very good copy of a truly rare item. There is general soil from use; several tabs have been strengthened or replaced, but all of the moveable scenes are operative. Montanaro, p. 69.
The dating of this item is problematic, but likely about 1859. Montanaro suggests a date of 1860, but the Cotsen copy in the Diana Rexford Tillson collection has an inscription dated March, 1859. The rear board has the code 4000--3,59 which indicates a publication date of March, 1859. Dean and Son was the first publisher to produce movable books on a large scale. In the late 1850's, the firm can be credited with inventing another first: the use of a mechanism that moved or was animated by pulling a tab.