What is a hornbook?
Found in English and American classrooms from the fifteenth century to the eighteenth century, the hornbook was a flat board with a handle and was used by beginning students. On the board was pasted a sheet of paper usually containing the alphabet, the Benediction, the Lord's Prayer, and the Roman numerals. A thin, flat piece of clear horn (taken from the horn of an animal) covered the whole board to protect the paper, which was scarce and expensive at the time. Hornbooks were used as early as 1442 and became standard equipment in English schools by the 1500s. They were discontinued around 1800 when books became cheaper.