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Enquiry from Online Galleries regarding "Richter’s Building Blocks"
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German, circa 1882-1895
Box Height 1.75 (5cm) Width 8.75” (22cm) Depth 5.5” (14cm)
Stock No. 9529
In an effort to overcome the instability of Froebel’s blocks, two brothers, Otto and Gustav Lilienthal, developed, in 1875, a method of making precisely shaped blocks using quartz sand, powdered chalk and linseed oil. Working with educationalist Dr Jan Georgens, they were able to create a new and more effective building block system.
Without sufficient marketing skills and funds to develop these blocks, the whole concept was sold to a wealthy entrepreneur, Friedrich Ad. Richter in 1880, who immediately took out a patent on the stones and started the construction of a factory to make them. He also implemented an art department where he employed artists, architects and illustrators, all essential for the creation of building plans for the Anker Stone Building Sets.
The factory was completed in 1882 and, using the trade label of a red squirrel, production began. By showing his product in as many exhibitions as he could, Richter was to win a total of 15 gold medals within the first year of manufacture. The red squirrel was to be replaced by the anchor with the introduction of the “New Series 1895”. The factory in Rudolstadt, with a total of 649 employees in 1910, was creating more than 40,000 sets of this incredibly popular toy and branch offices and subsidiaries were opened in Vienna, St. Petersburg, London and New York.
Production continued right through both world wars even though the factory found itself in the newly formed Communist East Germany, but production eventually ceased in 1963. The passion for Anchor Blocks never ceased though, and, on 15th September 1995, with financial help from the European Union and the state of Thuringia, the factory was reopened and production continues to this date.