1930s "Perfect Puzzle Company" Jigsaw Puzzles

  • $120.00

Box set of jigsaw puzzles produced by the "Consolidated Box Co." in Somerville, Mass. Individual puzzles measure 9 1/2 x 7 inches. The box measures 15 x 10 inches and is 1 1/4 inches deep. Box set includes 7 thick cardboard jigsaw puzzles. There were originally 8 puzzles included in the set. Unfortunately not only is this not a complete set it appears to include a couple of puzzles from other collections. (not originally part of this box set) Three of the puzzles appear to be original though I can't guarantee it. The other 4 may have come from other collections. All of the puzzles are the same size, shape and thickness. Most are adorned with a graphic pattern on the back. (see pics) A couple do not include graphics on the backs of puzzle pieces.

The Box includes the following text:
Perfect Picture Puzzles (8 separate puzzles in this box)
Consolidated Box Co., Somerville, Mass.
Made in America
No. 820

The origin of the jigsaw puzzle is generally attributed to a European cartographer named John Spilsbury, who cut a wooden map of the British Empire into pieces in the 1760s so the aristocracy's children could learn the geography of the lands Britain ruled. These early wooden puzzles, called "Dissected Maps," began the history of the jigsaw puzzle, and their popularity among the upper class in both Europe and the U.S. grew steadily throughout the 1800s.

The first important development in the history of the jigsaw puzzle was that by 1900, the wooden jigsaw puzzle in the U.S. had evolved from children's games into a form of entertainment for wealthy adults. The jigsaw puzzle found its way back across the Atlantic Ocean in the first decade of the 20th century, now as a popular form of adult entertainment rivaling bridge and lawn bowling, and would often be found at parties or in the parlors of weekend estates.

The Consolidated Paper Box Company was organized in 1931 when four box manufacturing companies joined forces and set up a box making facility at 120 Central Street in Somerville, Mass. At the time, it was one of the largest plants of its kind in New England.

In 1931, the country was in the heart of the Great Depression, and most people had very little money to spend on leisure activities. Wooden jigsaw puzzles were a favorite activity with homebound Americans, but these puzzles had to be cut by hand, a time-consuming and expensive process. Few could afford them. In the fall of 1932, at newsstands in Boston, a few miles away from Somerville, weekly die cut cardboard jigsaw puzzles were introduced. This started a huge demand for the weeklies and for all other kinds of inexpensive cardboard puzzles. The craze soon spread across the country and into Canada. For as little as a dime, people could take a puzzle home to their families for an evening's entertainment.

In 1932, the Consolidated Paper Box Company began making boxes for Jig of the Week, one of the most popular of the weeklies. Responding to the strong demand for more and more puzzles, the company introduced its own brand, the Perfect Picture Puzzle, later that same year.

Not long after, perhaps as early as 1934, Perfect Picture Puzzles included a picture of the puzzle subject on the outside of the box. Customers were delighted with this innovation, and soon Consolidated commanded an impressive share of the cardboard puzzle market. It wasn't until later in the 1930s that their major competitors, Tuco Workshops and Milton Bradley, followed suit and began providing box pictures.

Click here to learn more about the "Consolidated Box Co." and "Picture Perfect Puzzles."

Condition: Individual puzzles are complete and in excellent condition. The two top puzzles in the box include some soiling but I think they could be cleaned. Box is generally in good condition though there is some surface loss and tape on the edges. Puzzle set is incomplete and mismatched. Please read the description at top for more information.


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