Green’s Dictionary of Slang

knowledge box n.

1. (also knowledge bag, knowledge bump, knowledge conk) the head or the mind [UK use faded by early 19C but revived in US black use by 20C+].

[UK]J. Shebbeare Lydia 2 190: The Player being best skilled in Boxing, to talk in technical Terms, had darkened one of the Divine's Day-lights, given him a damn'd Drive in the Bread-basket, and almost cracked his Knowledge-box.
[UK]Critical memoirs of the Times 68/2: Apply to the proper person for a certificate, whether his knowedge-box is yet informed.
[UK]E. Thompson Fair Quaker 56: [...] your knowledge-box to be so plaguy holy.
[UK]Grose Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue n.p.: Knowledge box, the head.
[UK]Poetry of Anti-Jacobin (1801) xxii 116: Coal-black is my knowledge-box [F&H].
[UK]‘One of the Fancy’ Tom Crib’s Memorial to Congress 17: And the chat is that NAP, when he had him in tow, / Found his knowledge-box always the first thing to go.
[UK]Annals of Sporting 1 Jan. 89: An arch wink of the right eye, with a knowing inclination of the knowledge-box.
[US]Emerald (N.Y.) 16 Oct. 109/1–2: Round 22. – Kensett much afflicted about the knowledge-box, and thrown.
[UK]C.M. Westmacott Eng. Spy I 284: If you don’t doff your knowledge bag and come to the door, we’ll mill all your glaze.
[UK]Egan Bk of Sports 26: Curtis captured his opponent’s ‘knowledge-box,’ and was endeavouring to weave it under his arms.
[Aus]Bell’s Life in Sydney 11 Oct. 2/5: Scotchie caught him with his right on the side of the knowledge-box.
[US]‘Major Jones’ Sketches of Travel 53: I ain’t much of a frenologist myself, or I’d go on and give you a full description of Uncle Sam’s knowledge-box.
[UK]C. Reade It Is Never Too Late to Mend II 281: By the time I had shaken my knowledge-box and found out north from south, I heard the poor man’s nailed shoes clattering down the road.
[UK]M.E. Braddon Trail of the Serpent 252: Ten rounds inside the rope, was a trifle to one in your own back parlour, when your missus had got your knowledge box in chancery on the hob.
[UK]Leeds Times 23 Feb. 6/3: A man to be a ’bus driver must ave hiron narves [...] and his knowledge-box must be screwed right atween his shoulders, or he’s a dunner.
[UK]Hotten Sl. Dict.
[Aus]Maitland Mercury (NSW) 2 May 6: I have nothing to report, let me sque[?]ze my knowledge box ever so hard.
[US]Butler Wkly Times (MO) 21 Dec. 4/5: Old Mr Fleming struck John a lick or two on his knowledge box that made Johnny see stars.
[UK]H. King Savage London 36: I aren’t much of a one at the gab, but your knowledge-box mostly takes in my meaning.
[UK]J.D. Brayshaw Slum Silhouettes 86: ’Ow’s ’e to stock ’is knowledge box when there’s a great hole downstairs yelling out, ‘Grub’?
[Aus]Sun. Times (Perth) 24 Jan. 2/4: I have been puzzling my ‘knowledge box’ for a reason.
[US]Dly Public ledger (Maysville, KY) 15 Aug. 2/1: There is information for you in this live wire, provided you will attach it to your knowledge box.
[US]Dakota Farmers’ Leader (Canton, SD) 4 June 5/2: The senior Class of 1915 to show their appreciation for what high school has done for them in the way of leaving school with all they can store in their knowledge box, have purchased a drinking fountain as a monument.
[UK](con. 1835–40) P. Herring Bold Bendigo 278: ‘Knock its dashed heads offs on mine,’ said the Deaf ’Un, baring his knowledge box.
[US]Pittsburgh Courier (PA) 27 Apr. 7/6: A cat who [...] has been the solid sender and his knowledge conk jumped with jive.
[US]Mezzrow & Wolfe Really the Blues 3: What they piled into this knowledge-box of mine hasn’t brought me down any.
[US]L. Durst Jives of Dr. Hepcat (1989) 2: Baby you got to elucidate, I don’t know the happenings, all at once, mop! I get the ‘ice berg act.’ So if you just pad my knowledge box I can make everything alreet.
[US]N. Heard Howard Street 74: Age don’t git you a damn thing if you ain’t right in the knowledge-box.
[UK](con. 1930s–50s) D. Wells Night People 118: Knowledge bump. Head.

2. used of a clever individual.

[UK]Huddersfield Chron. 9 Sept. 3/1: His making love to that spectacled knowledge-box who was the presiding genius.

3. (US, also house of knowledge, knowledge factory, knowledge stash) a school.

[US]‘Hugh McHugh’ John Henry 54: I was always loafing around the outside of the Knowledge Factory, printing my name on the fence with a jackknife.
[US]Tacoma Times (WA) 16 Mar. 4/4: At the knowledge box today all the guys kidded him.
[US]J. Callahan Man’s Grim Justice 98: The sheriff [...] came back to the knowledge box (schoolhouse) and glomed (arrested) us.
[US]G. Milburn ‘The Dealer Gets It All’ in Hobo’s Hornbook 152: I’ve flopped out on cinders; in a hoosier knowledge box.
[US]L.E. Lawes Twenty Thousand Years in Sing Sing 145: We visited the knowledge factory.
[US]D. Burley Orig. Hbk of Harlem Jive 15: Doing a paper dolly at the knowledge stash.
[US]M.H. Boulware Jive and Sl. n.p.: House of knowledge ... School.
[US]Monteleone Criminal Sl. (rev. edn).
[US]Goldin et al. DAUL 120/2: Knowledge-box. Any school or seat of learning.
[US]Ragen & Finston World’s Toughest Prison 807: knowledge box – A school house; the brain.