Worcester Torch Club Presentation

February 8, 2001

"The World of Wood Puzzles: Beauty and Challenge" was, for the second time, presented by me to the Worcester, MA Torch Club meeting February 8, 2001, starting with dinner at 6 p.m. at the Worcester Club, One Oak St, Worcester. This time, however, I added a new subtitle, "Serendipity in Retirement" to describe my comments about starting out to cut new jigsaw puzzles for retirement but stumbling into the restoration of old jigsaw puzzles which I found more in tune with my skills and temperament. Also, I found that while there were lots of excellent cutters around to make new puzzles, there were very few people willing to engage in the serious restoration of old puzzles on a regular basis.

My presentation was illustrated with about two dozen "collection quality" jigsaw puzzles which I shrink wrapped, labeled and displayed on portable stands. Subjects covered are:

A. Introduction describing how I got started and where I am today in the puzzle world

B. History and discussion focusing on my display puzzles

  1. Earliest puzzles showing: My Bible (Darton, Jr, 1812, reproduction) and Game of Star Spangled Banner or Immigrants to U.S. (Wallis, 1840)
  2. Late 19th century showing: City of Worcester (McLoughlin Brothers, 1889) and Up the Heights of San Juan (McLoughlin Brothers, 1898)
  3. 1909 era showing: A Future Cup Defender (Rawson), Planting the Evidence (Ayer), A Spanish Lady (Holtzapffel/Figure It Out) and Best of the Season (Underwood)
  4. 1930s showing Checkers (Arteno), January Sunset (Richburg/Novelty), Summer's Glory (Jones/Falls), Friendly Welcome (Straus/Sculptured)
  5. Parker Brothers showing: The Pickwickians Leaving the Golden Cross (Pastime/Dickens Coaching, 1911), Marguerite and Faust (Pastime, 1913), Where Dreams Are Made (Pastime, 1930s), Gloria (Pastime, 1928)
  6. Par Co showing: Grim Outlook (1940/50), For a Tight Squeeze (1950s), Stepping Out (1950/60)
  7. Today's puzzles showing: A Hasty Retreat (Russell, 1975), Moondance (Stave, 1995), Through the Aspen (Elliott/Pagemark, 1999), Stargazing (Armstrong, 1993)

C. Conclusion including remarks describing enormous impact of Ebay.com on today's puzzle world

The highlighted puzzles can be clicked on and viewed on this web site in the Armstrong Collection pages. While my presentations follow a basic pattern, I individualize them for the listening audience, including selecting puzzles which I think will appeal to them. I enjoy giving these talks, entirely on a voluntary basis, and am available to speak to other groups within a reasonable distance of Worcester at mutually agreeable times.