The other day, Eldest Daughter brought me this object (which you see to your left), that she had found in an old copy of Huckleberry Finn. The book had been mine when I was a child, and I had passed it on to her. As you can perhaps read for yourself, the object was printed in 1974. On the backside are three patches of watercolor paint, and attatched to it (and removed by someone) were a half-dozen cardboard "paintbrushes".
This is the world I grew up in. I remember using similar sets. Yeah, they didnt work very well, but they worked. People put too much emphasis on the quality of the equipment. Ever seen some of the stuff done by prisoners using M+M's for pigment ? Well, I have, and while I cant show you any (cant find a link), I can tell you it's impressive. Read the articles.
Lastly, a confession. Though I had appearantly stuck a bookmark in Huckleberry Finn, I have never actually read it. Yes, to my eternal chagrin, I havent read that all-time Great American Book. Actually, I havent read a lot of the all-time Great American Books (my wife, shaking her head in shame, weeps for me).