Arithmetic Teaching Apparatus
Textbooks & Cipher Books

A picture of the Arithmetic School, a toy by Playskool.

A piece of sheet music from 1946 shows two of the most common tools of arithmetic teaching – the blackboard and the textbook. While these are represented in Smithsonian collections, they are not shown in this group. Also shown here is a handwritten cipher book. Before textbooks became inexpensive, such books were often written out by students. As arithmetic was taught by the same teachers responsible for writing classes, the penmanship in cipher books often is quite elegant.