Hornbook in the shape of a small wooden paddle: 16th century
© Museum of London
Full image caption
Hornbook shaped like a small wooden paddle. It is covered with a thin layer of horn that has cracked and turned black with age. The hornbook made its first appearance around the middle of the 15th century, and rapidly became a popular teaching and instructional aid for children. The 'book' is a parchment or paper fixed to a thin wooden or ivory board with a short handle. The information is presented in a formulaic fashion, starting with the alphabet, nine digits, the Lord's prayer and sometimes a syllabary. The text is protected by a thin translucent sheet of horn which is held in place by a frame of revetted copper strips. The back of the board is often decorated.
1501 AD - 1600 AD