Wooden Jigsaw Puzzles

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The Pergola" The Pergola " [?], [by Albini?]

Produced wooden puzzles in the UK during the 1930's.


The Romans at Caerleon
"The Romans at Caerleon"

According to British Jigsaw Puzzles of the 20th Century, by Tom Tyler, Chad Valley was founded in the early 19th century. The company produced fine handcut wooden puzzles in the 1920's and 1930's. Some of their most sought after puzzles are those produced for the Great Western Railway (GWR), Cunard White Star, The British India Steamship Co., and Dunlop.

Rev. E.J. Clemens, or Silent Teacher

Clemens Silent Teacher" Clemens Silent Teacher ",

Produced wooden puzzles in the USA during the late 19th century, often advertising White sewing machines or Sherwin Williams paint.


Green Dragon"Green Dragon", Graphic copyright 2000 by K. Chin Gallery, puzzle by John Stokes, of Custom Puzzle Craft.

Blue Bottle"Blue Bottle", Venice, Italy, photo copyright Michael Seewald, 1997; puzzle by John Stokes, of Custom Puzzle Craft.


Out of the Mist"Out of the Mist",
DELTA, approx. 400 pieces.

Produced wooden puzzles in the UK during the 1920's and 1930's.
See A.V.N. JONES [below]


Firebird: Firebird: "Topaz", by Mucha, unique puzzle handcut by "Dave, the Ji6sawman"(See our Links Page).

Firebird: 'Lycie'Firebird: "Lycie", by Mucha, unique puzzle handcut by "Dave, the Ji6sawman"


An Old House and Garden"An Old House and Garden"

According to Tom Tyler,British Jigsaw Puzzles of the 20th Century, G.J. Hayter produced the Victory line from the 1920's throught the 1980's. In 1970, G.J. Hayter became a subsidiary of J.W. Spear & Sons. Over a period of about 60 years, many, many different series of puzzles were produced.


Jewels of the East"Jewels of the East", a Huvanco puzzle, c. 1920's.
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Huvanco puzzles were produced by the Huvan Manufacturing Company, in Ilford, England, from the early 1900's to the World War 2 era.











Peacock puzzles was started in 1853 by Edward James Peacock. He was a Baptist Reverend as well as being a Carpenter. He had worked as a Manager with Edward Wallis in London in the late 1830s early 1840s, who was a very well known Publisher, Bookseller and Map Dissector. When Wallis ceased to trade in 1847 his stock was purchased by John Passmore of 18 Fleet Street, London. Significantly John Passmore was Edward James' brother-in-law, Edward James having married Rebecca Passmore, John's elder sister, in 1833.

Edward James P and his family went to Australia in 1841 where he was variously a Policeman, Missionary to the Aborigines, Schoolteacher and finally a Post Master. After some colourful adventures he returned to U.K. in 1853 having 'made his pile' and opened the Peacock & Co firm making children's furniture, toys, and notably, Dissected Maps, from 3, Adelaide Terrace/Prebend Street, London. The firm prospered until 1861 when Edward James felt the Missionary call again. He passed the firm to his son William who drove the firm forward, expanding business until it became recognised as one of the world's most prolific producers of wooden jigsaw puzzles in the late 19th Century. The early puzzles were of Dissected Maps and a Religious theme and were produced with distinctive wooden boxes with a sliding lid. Cardboard boxes were introduced at the turn of the century when wood was becoming a scarce commodity and not cost effective. William continued until 1910 when, on his death, the firm passed to his two sons William Edward and Albert Frank. Thus the firm became Peacock Bros - still working from the same address. In 1918 one of the partners, Albert Frank P, left to 'do his bit' in WW1. For some reason after the War he did not return to the firm, possibly due to a family row! William Edward turned the firm into a Limited Company, No 151318 in August 1918 with a member of the Hamley family as one of the Shareholders. It is possible that Peacocks actually made some of the puzzles produced under the Hamley label at that time. The style of cutting is noticeably similar although the Hamley puzzles do not bear any attribution to Peacock.

In 1926 there was a fire at the premises, and London Fire Brigade Reports showed that two Appliances attended with nine Firemen. Extensive damage to all four floors was shown. After a rebuild, the firm continued to expand and became a victim of it's own success. The premises became too small to contain their output and new premises were built at 175/179 St Johns Street, London, in 1931.

These premises still stand in 2006 and look very modern even now. At the time of entering the new premises Peacocks realised that they had to bend with the times and introduced cardboard puzzles. The toy production side of the firm had also expanded and many articles were produced from wooden bricks, parquetry mosaics, table-tennis sets, bagatelle, blackboard and easels, farm cottages and animals, Noah's Ark sets, battleships.... the list goes on.

In 1931 a final addition to, and a departure from the practical diversions, came with the introduction of Teddy Bears. All these Peacock Teddy Bears have a white cotton label with red embroidered lettering of "Peacock of London" on one of the hind pads. Oddly these Peacock Bears continued until 1939, well after Chad Valley had taken over the business.

At the height of their success, Peacock & Co. Ltd. continued until 1934 when the firm was acquired by Chad Valley. William Edward P was by that time 64 years old. There were no sons from his marriage to continue the running of the firm. He died in 1936 and is buried in Abney Park Cemetery in a unique grave, the bed of which is in the style of a geometric jigsaw. A fitting memorial to a Jigsaw Puzzle Dynasty.

According to Companies House, the name Peacock & Co. Ltd. was not finally lost until 16th October, 1970. This would have been on the occasion of the formal dissolving of the name from Minutes at an Extraordinary General Meeting of the Company that had inherited the 'rights' to the name.

At the time of the transition between Peacock and Chad Valley it would seem that some of the old stock of Peacocks jigsaw puzzle boxes in bright orange with a stylised Jigsaw Puzzle motif were also utilised by Chad Valley. Some of the Peacock ones bear the name and address of the Peacock firm, others a bright blue Peacock motif. These same boxes later bear the name of Chad Valley. Probably the same wooden jigsaw cutters were also included in the take over as the style of cutting is very similar in both firms. There is a Peacock family rumour that Peacocks also cut the early GWR puzzles produced by Chad Valley, but nothing in black and white has been found to give credence to the rumour.

Kind Regards,


Dans la campagne anglaisethe box, "Dans la campagne anglaise", PENELOPE, Switzerland.

Dans la campagne anglaise"Dans la campagne anglaise", PENELOPE, Switzerland, approximately 300 pieces.




For Empire Defence
" For Empire Defence "

Produced wooden puzzles in the UK during the 1930's.



Highland Cattle" Highland Cattle ", THE ACADEMY, 100 pieces.

THE ACADEMY wooden puzzles were made by J. SALMON & CO LTD., in England, from 1920 until the late 1950's.

Highland Stag" Highland Stag ", The Academy Jig-Saw Puzzle - "A Charming Watercolour in 125 Pieces". Tag says, No. J 711 , Highland Stag, 125 pieces , 2/6 [price], Size 10x7 , All Pieces Interlocking , Manufactured by J. Salmon, Sevenoaks, England, c. 1930's to 1940's [?].

Produced wooden puzzles in the UK 1920-1955.
See no. 881, Page 60; no. 912, Page 61; no. 1558, Page 97.

We believe they produced puzzles from 1878 to 1988. They acquired G.J. HAYTER CO in 1970.




Market Day" Market Day ", 122 pcs, copyright 1940, C. Moss.

This puzzle produced (1940's?) at 50 Lenox Ave, East Orange, NJ. Another address common for these puzzles was 47 Beverly Rd, W. Caldwell, NJ.


Porrero Harbour"Porrero Harbour". Unknown maker, from the 1930's or 1940's. This puzzle has about 600 pieces. All the straight edges are interior pieces, the edges are scalloped, and there is much color-line cutting!

[We received this additional information from "Keith" in England. -- Jim McW] This is a Victory Super Cut Puzzle (S Series) . These were sold in Gold Boxes without a guide picture and were based on the Art/Artistic Series available in sizes from 60 to 2000 pieces, they cost a little more than the Art/Artistic Puzzles and were labelled 'Super Cut'. These Series were called Art in 1932 Artistic from 1935 and became Gold Box Series from the late 1960's. The 600 Piece Puzzles were normally 20x16.

Any Artistic Puzzle could be made 'Super Cut' to special order. Victory also made a 9x7 version of Polperro Harbour in its Beauty Spot Series this was a 100 piece puzzle and was listed from 1938 to 1956. I cannot find this Puzzle Listed from 1932 to 1938. On reflection I think this puzzle is from the late 1950s into 1960s period. At the outbreak of WWII Victory had to relinquish their factory in Boscombe to the Admiralty and continued a limited puzzle production in scattered small buildings around the area.

The largest puzzles were dropped out of production, due to material shortages, a lack of space, and the fact that the market could not sustain items costing more than 1 in wartime.In 1956 they had returned to their old factory and once again promoted Artistic/Gold Box Puzzles and the Supercut Puzzles. No two identical Gold Box puzzles have been found so far, the Titles were not listed, only shown on the box. Polperro is a popular Fishing Harbour and Tourist Stop on the South Coast of Cornwall.




Other Wooden Puzzles

Wood Picture PuzzleWood Picture Puzzle

Washington At Home"Washington At Home". Plywood, from the 1930's or 1940's. Unknown artist.

Barnet Fair"Barnet Fair", Great Britain.

woodland scenewoodland scene, unknown title, maker, and artist. [Thanks to "NCG"]

cottage with flowerscottage with flowers, unknown title, maker, and artist. [Thanks to "NCG"]


Chris McCann's book,Master Pieces: the Art History of Jigsaw Puzzles.

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