Wooden Puzzles

Puzzle Series: Wooden Puzzles- Mark Geis’ Favorite Puzzles Part 2

If you missed Part 1 of this series featuring vintage puzzles from the collection of Mark Geis, please click here to view it.  All of the following words and photos in this post and the other posts in this portion of the series are from Mark.

The Baldwin Locomotive Works

 251 pieces, 19 3/16” x 9” circa 1920s

This is an advertising puzzle from the 1920s and is unusual in that it is hand cut from wood. Most advertising puzzles were made of cardboard. Advertising puzzles were popular giveaways, especially in the 1930s. They would be given away with a product purchase at the store or had a coupon with the product to mail in to receive your free puzzle.

Sunny Room

615 pieces, 25 3/4” x 16 5/8”, 1934

Beautiful illustration by C. Pehrmann. Pastime Puzzle with partial color line cutting, you will notice some knobs along the edge of the door and curtains which help to keep the puzzle from separating. Some of the puzzle pieces must have been exposed to  some moisture at some point and the plywood layers on about 150 pieces needed some regluing. It took some time, but I think it was worth it for such a beautiful puzzle.


500+ pieces, 20 3/4” x 17 1/4”, circa 1930s

Excellent color line cutting from a painting by J. W. Godward. This puzzle, by an unknown cutter, appears to have been cut into sections that butt together with more interesting swirly interlocking pieces within. One of the things I enjoy about early wood puzzles like this one is that you get a box full of pieces, maybe with a title, and don’t know what you are putting together and it is revealed as you assemble the puzzle. (Caveat, I did purchase this online so I saw a picture of the puzzle when I purchased it, but didn’t use any visual while putting it together.)

The Pioneers Ride On!

715 pieces, 24 3/8” x 16 3/8”, circa 1930s

 Illustration by Hy Hintermeister, a popular artist of the time period, with an impressive, swirly cut. The puzzle features advances in transportation from a rider on a horse, to covered wagons, vintage automobile, train, steamship and airplane. I purchase some puzzles for the print and some for the cutting style, but this is a winner in both categories. You can see the swirly cutting style in the darker areas and this puzzle also incorporates 22 figural pieces.

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