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Detail 1
Detail 1

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The first jigsaw puzzle was made around 1760 by John Spilsbury of England, who pasted a map of Europe onto thin wood and cut around the borders. He sold his product as a geography education toy. Others took up making jigsaw puzzles. In the United States, the first domestic manufacturer was Samuel McCleary and John Pierce of New York in 1849, and a thriving industry flourished after the Civil War. All of these were for children, though. But in 1906 an adult puzzling craze developed that moved far away from the didactic material in children's puzzles to popular prints. This example lies between a child's puzzle and one of the more complicated adult ones. It has a small amount of pieces and a picture guide for assembly, but its content is not overtly intended to teach, since it displays a decorative scene. The Quirlicut Company of Portland, Maine, did not last long: it is only known to produce puzzles around 1909. This puzzle by the Quirlicut Company served not only to entertain, but to promote: it was advertising for the town of Greenfield!


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"The Quirlicut Company" Puzzle

creator   The Quirlicut Company
date   c. 1910
location   Portland, Maine
height   3.5"
width   5.5"
process/materials   wood, paper
accession #   #2002.26.07b

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See Also...

"Scene on Green River, Greenfield, MA" Postcard

Road in Highland Park

Road to Leyden

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