26 x 19 in (66.04 x 48.26 cm)
A fascinating c. 1900 French manuscript gameboard that doubled as educational tool in the field of civic planning. Entitled Accident d'Automobile, the board consists of four panels, each representing a different 'traffic' problem, all of which were pertinent to Paris in the late 19th and early 20th century. The panels, each of which are mounted on sheets of cork, assemble according to a key found on the inside cover of the binder. The binder itself is a beautifully constructed French book box with the title embossed in gilt on the spine. This set is a testament to the fact that sometimes the best pedagogical tool is a game that models real-life scenarios.
The Automobile in FranceThe earliest self-propelled mechanical vehicles appeared in France in 1769, but the steam-powered inventions gained little attention. It was not until Armand Peugeot, Léon Bollee, and the Renault brothers began large scale manufacturing in the 1890s, that France truly embraced the Automobile Age. Parisians were immediately faced with the ongoing problem that neither the grand Haussmannian boulevards nor the narrow mediaeval warrens that made up the oldest parts of the city were designed for the speed, power, and popularity of the automobile. All of the major problems faced by French city planners with the adoption of the automobile are illustrated here.
Traffic ProblemsOne is a roundabout from which eight lanes of traffic emerge, and which also features popular pedestrian crossings and tramways. This first is a major intersection with a large busy boulevard. The second is a mediaeval maze of interesting roads and alleyways, often steering around erratically constructed blocks. A third section offers a large open plaza in which 13 lanes of traffic converge. The fourth is a roundabout from which eight lanes of traffic emerge, and which also features popular pedestrian crossings and tramways. Symbols indicate the flow of traffic, presence of streetlights, and other inexplicable elements. The whole is rendered and assembled with an engineer's meticulousness and precision.
Publication History and CensusThis is a unique item of which there are no other known examples.
Good. Some warping of boards. Original binder box scuffed here and there. Size noted represents the size of all four panels. The individual panes are 9.5 x 13 inches, the binder is 14 x 10.5 x 1.75 inches.