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Richter’s Anchor Blocks

c. 1910

This type of stone construction kit was first produced in Germany in the mid-19th century and became popular in the 1880s when businessman Friedrich Adolf Richter acquired the rights to the design and began marketing them under his name. Richter’s business benefited from the long-lasting effects of 19th-century education reform that encouraged hands-on learning with blocks and other simple toys. Richter’s company produced hundreds of different kits, including this Bungalow Box that was designed around 1910 and reflected the growing popularity of Bungalow-style houses—a type of small, free-standing domestic architecture that had originated in Bengal—in Europe and the US, where they became associated with the Arts and Crafts movement in architecture and design. In 1966, the Eameses assembled and photographed a set of Richter’s Anchor Blocks for an advertisement for Herman Miller’s New York showroom. The tri-fold ad, which ran in two major architectural magazines, filled three pages with a block construction that evoked the elaborate stone masonry of a medieval cathedral. The Eameses playfully augmented the construction by incorporating small images of modern interiors and their own chair designs, and by including the Herman Miller logo in place of a stained glass rose window.

  • Manufacturer: F. Ad. Richter & Co.
  • Medium:Wood, paper, sandstone
  • Dimensions:12 3/4 x 8 3/4 x 1 7/8 in. (32.4 x 22.2 x 4.8 cm)
  • Item:T.2019.2.316