Mimical Ladies & Gentlemen: A funny 1825 pull-tab movable!
Pull-tab books are often thought to be a recent invention in book making, but nothing could be further from the truth! This delightful, and extremely rare, title from 1825 shows that people have always loved movable no matter when they lived.
In the early 1800's there were not nearly as many things in life to entertain people as there are today. But the residents of London still enjoyed a good laugh and one company was determined to see they got what they wanted.
S & J Fuller Publishers produced a variety of paper items including stationary and paper dolls for it's upscale clientele during the time of author Jane Austin. "Mimical Ladies & Gentlemen" was released to the public in February 1825.
This title is about the size of a pack of modern day playing cards and comes in a finely engraved box with hand colored illustration and gilt gold embossed edging (definitely NOT within the budget of the average Londoner!).
With the pull of a yellow ribbon at the bottom of the box, a slipcase is smoothly revealed, still bright pink after almost 180 years!
The slipcase contains over a dozen engraved, hand painted cards or folios.
The cards are illustrated with a variety of comical caricatures from the period. There are both men and women, all richly dressed in many different poses and stances (although none looking too dignified!).
Upon closer inspection it becomes apparent that the upper portion of each caricature's head is a separate piece. At the very bottom of the card is a small, unmarked tab.
By moving the tab back and forth the figure's mouth moves back and forth (or up and down). In this case, the movement of the tab creates the illusion of snoring!
"Mimical Ladies & Gentlemen" is also quite unusual in the fact that is the first known movable to portray people of color, as can be seen by the opera singer at right.