The Railway Alphabet, published by Dean and Son c.1850.

A rare book from the Museum’s Elton Collection. Sir Arthur Elton (1906-1973) was one of the early pioneers of documentary film making in the inter-war years and wrote a number of books on technical subjects. During his life he put together a unique collection of paintings, prints, drawings, books and other ephemera relating to the industrial and transport revolution.

The publishing house Dean & Son was established by Thomas Dean in London in the late 1790s. Best known for making educational and entertaining children's books, Thomas Dean used innovative lithographic printing processes and hand-colouring to produce detailed and vibrant images such as these. By the time Thomas’ son George became a partner in 1847, the firm was the preeminent publisher of children's books in London.