Victorian Stacking BlocksBy

Victorian Stacking Blocks

This set of new stacking, or nesting, blocks is an exact reproduction of an 1888 set made by McLoughlin Brothers of New York. Original blocks were wood covered by brightly lithographed paper. This new version is also made with paper applied over wood. An advertisement for the blocks said, "Their production duplicates the original blocks with photographs taken from the original lithographs and applied with wheat paste over cut plywood."

The easiest way to identify the reproductions is by the modern paper. Find an area where you can scratch the surface of the paper. On new blocks sold as old, there are usually already "age" scratches. The chemicals in new paper will fluoresce a strong bright white under long wave black light; the old shows virtually no fluorescence. NOTE: the printed surface will not show any reaction; the white paper stock under the printing must be exposed for a reliable black light test. This can be an edge of the paper or a small scratch anywhere on the surface.

The new set of nine blocks range in size from 2x5" to 7x6".


Fig. 1 These handmade paper over wood blocks are very authentic looking. They can be detected by exposing the new white paper stock to long wave black light which makes the new paper fluoresce bright white.