Two Very Rare Anchor Stone (Anker-Steinbaukasten) Building Sets
"The Little Builder's Artistic Building Bricks" "No.2" & "No.3"
Glazed stoneware ceramic within wooden
boxes with printed labels to the lids
Made in Bavaria, Germany for the English market
Set "No.2": 27.5 cm high x 20.5 cm wide x 4.5 cm deep (approx.)
Set "No.3": 33.3 cm high x 25 cm wide x 4.5 cm deep (approx.)
Private collection, UK
Set No.2 contains fifty plus bricks, Set No.3 contains approximately seventy. The bricks are various dimensions but the cube shape blocks are 25 mm wide. Both sets retain original paper instruction sheets suggesting various ways in which the building blocks can be configured to create fascinating architectural structures. The style of the bricks and the Art Nouveau architecture which they advance, along with the detailing on the labels etc, suggest a date of production around 1905. The labels within the lids showing the layout of the bricks for storage might suggest a slightly later date - but in the absence of further information it is hard to pin down. There are few clues to the manufacturer: the hard porcelaneous material from which the bricks are made is similar to that used in Friedrich Adolf Richter's Anchor Stone (Anker Stenbaukasten) building sets. The label of set "No.2" simply has "Made in Bavaria" written on it (lower right) confirmation that they are, therefore, of German manufacture. The 25mm size bricks conforms to Richter's "GK" (Grosse Kaliber) scale.
In any event, the sets date to around the time the German architectural historian Hermann Muthesius had first published 'Das englische Haus', recognising the unique contributions English designers and builders where making to modern architecture. It is probably this spirit of innovative Art Nouveau / Arts and Crafts design on which the German manufacturer of the bricks is trying to capitalise.
No similar sets have been identified.
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