The Hometown History column is presented by the Fenton History Center and The Post-Journal. Each Friday, a distinct item from the Fenton History Center collections or archival special collections will be featured. Learn about your hometown history through parts of its past.
If one of the items featured brings back some memories or brings up a question, please contact the Fenton History Center at 664-6256 or firstname.lastname@example.org to share your memory or get an answer to your question.
Rainy summer days are good for working on jigsaw puzzles or playing board games.
Pictured is the hand-cut wooden puzzle “Welcome to Washington,” made by Parker Brothers as part of their “Pastime Puzzle” series. It is estimated to have been produced in the late 1920s. There are three pieces missing after more than 80 years.
During the last rainy spell, one of our interns at the Fenton History Center put together a jigsaw puzzle for us. It was a recent donation, and we needed to see what it was and if any pieces were missing. We also took a picture of the completed puzzle for our records.
This puzzle was made by Parker Brothers, a well-known producer of games. This puzzle was from their "Pastime Puzzle" series.
The name of the picture was "Welcome to Washington" and depicted George Washington arriving on horseback in a town with the many townspeople out in the street to welcome him.
The puzzle box did not have the picture on it as puzzle boxes have today. Inside the box was a small black and white picture of it that looks to have been cut out of a catalog or a brochure, as there is part of another picture on the back of the paper. We do not know if a picture of the completed puzzle was included in the box at the time of purchase.
The box top is in poor condition, which probably means that the puzzle was put together more than once in its life.
The patent date on the cover is Aug. 7, 1917, but there is no number, so is the patent for the box or the puzzle or what?
The address is Salem, Mass. and Flatiron Building, New York. This appears on boxes produced from 1919 to 1937.
Another indication of age is the label on the end of the box which gives the title of the picture. This is in all capital letters which were used after 1925. The label inside the box reads "This puzzle Sawn by---------, Polished and finished by-------------." This label was used from about 1915 to 1930.
Non-white boxes were used before 1925. This box may have been white but is now yellowed and/or faded. There are about 200 pieces in the puzzle. It is likely that the puzzle was produced and purchased shortly after 1925.
The puzzle pieces themselves are not like many of today's jigsaw puzzles. They are not the standard interlocking pieces. This is a wooden puzzle about a quarter inch thick and all the pieces have been cut out by hand.
The parts that do in some cases interlock are very small "squiggles." Some of the pieces are discernible shapes including a bear, a star, a W, an S, and an N, plus more.
The artist signed the painting that was used for the puzzle, but we have been unable to read the name.
The head of just about each person in the picture has been cut around and appears all on one piece. The horse's head has also been cut around but then divided into two pieces. The skill it took to produce one of these puzzles must have required much practice. We wonder how long it took someone to cut a puzzle like this and how long it took to put it together.
So on the next rainy summer afternoon try your hand at a jigsaw puzzle.
The purpose of the Fenton History Center is to gather and teach about southern Chautauqua County's history through artifacts, ephemeral and oral histories, and other pieces of the past.
Visit www.fentonhistorycenter.org for more information on upcoming events.
If you would like to donate to the collections or support the work of the Fenton History Center, call 664-6256 or visit the center at 67 Washington St., just south of the Washington Street Bridge.