You've never seen the ABCs look this bizarre and wonderful

Illustration for article titled Youve never seen the ABCs look this bizarre and wonderful

These incredible pictorial alphabet designs look like artistic madness, but they were actually used historically as mnemonic devices to help people memorize their letters. If you are a font fiend, or simply love weird imagery, you must check out these demented illustrations of the ABCs.

A Human Alphabet, by Jo. Theodor and Jo. Israel De Bry in Frankfurt, 1596

Illustration for article titled Youve never seen the ABCs look this bizarre and wonderful
Advertisement

(via Amazon)

The Comical Hotch Potch, or The Alphabet turn'd Posture-Master, 1782

Illustration for article titled Youve never seen the ABCs look this bizarre and wonderful
Advertisement

(via A Wild Slim Alien)

The Man of Letters or Pierrot's Alphabet (1794)

Illustration for article titled Youve never seen the ABCs look this bizarre and wonderful
Advertisement

(via Giovanni Garcia-Fenech)

Alfabeto Pittorico, by Antonio Basoli, 1839

Illustration for article titled Youve never seen the ABCs look this bizarre and wonderful
Advertisement
Illustration for article titled Youve never seen the ABCs look this bizarre and wonderful
Illustration for article titled Youve never seen the ABCs look this bizarre and wonderful
Advertisement

(via LiveInternet)

An ornamental Italian alphabet, 1839

Illustration for article titled Youve never seen the ABCs look this bizarre and wonderful
Advertisement
Illustration for article titled Youve never seen the ABCs look this bizarre and wonderful

(via Just Something I Made)

A Was An Archer, or a New Amusing Alphabet for Children, 1844

Illustration for article titled Youve never seen the ABCs look this bizarre and wonderful
Advertisement
Illustration for article titled Youve never seen the ABCs look this bizarre and wonderful
Illustration for article titled Youve never seen the ABCs look this bizarre and wonderful
Advertisement
Illustration for article titled Youve never seen the ABCs look this bizarre and wonderful
Illustration for article titled Youve never seen the ABCs look this bizarre and wonderful
Advertisement

(via Ptak Science Books)

Occupational Alphabet, c. 1850

Illustration for article titled Youve never seen the ABCs look this bizarre and wonderful
Advertisement
Illustration for article titled Youve never seen the ABCs look this bizarre and wonderful
Illustration for article titled Youve never seen the ABCs look this bizarre and wonderful
Advertisement
Illustration for article titled Youve never seen the ABCs look this bizarre and wonderful

(via Ptak Science Books)

The Royal Picture Alphabet, 1854

Illustration for article titled Youve never seen the ABCs look this bizarre and wonderful
Advertisement
Illustration for article titled Youve never seen the ABCs look this bizarre and wonderful
Illustration for article titled Youve never seen the ABCs look this bizarre and wonderful
Advertisement
Illustration for article titled Youve never seen the ABCs look this bizarre and wonderful

(via OpenLibrary)

The Funny Alphabet, 1850s

Illustration for article titled Youve never seen the ABCs look this bizarre and wonderful
Advertisement

(via Internet Archive)

The Landscape Alphabet, printed by Charles Joseph Hullmandel, made between 1818 and 1860

Illustration for article titled Youve never seen the ABCs look this bizarre and wonderful
Advertisement
Illustration for article titled Youve never seen the ABCs look this bizarre and wonderful
Illustration for article titled Youve never seen the ABCs look this bizarre and wonderful
Advertisement

(via British Museum)

Kantner's Illustrated Book of Objects and Self-Educator in German and English, 1879

Illustration for article titled Youve never seen the ABCs look this bizarre and wonderful
Advertisement
Illustration for article titled Youve never seen the ABCs look this bizarre and wonderful
Illustration for article titled Youve never seen the ABCs look this bizarre and wonderful
Advertisement

(via Longstreet)

Baseball ABC, c. 1885

Illustration for article titled Youve never seen the ABCs look this bizarre and wonderful
Advertisement
Illustration for article titled Youve never seen the ABCs look this bizarre and wonderful
Illustration for article titled Youve never seen the ABCs look this bizarre and wonderful
Advertisement

(via Library of Congress)

A Fashionable Melange of English Words (Ryūkō eigo zukushi), a Japanese woodcut by Kamekichi Tsunajima, 1887

Illustration for article titled Youve never seen the ABCs look this bizarre and wonderful
Advertisement

(via Public Domain Review)

Share This Story

Get our newsletter

DISCUSSION

Strangeite
Strangeite

My 3 year old is sitting on my lap and he asked, "Daddy, why is there no J or U?" Then I noticed that in fact the J and U are missing from several of these alphabets.

Does anyone have an answer for my son?