The following featured hand-cut wooden jigsaw puzzles are some of Carrie’s early pieces, patterned after the jigsaws popular in America between about 1910 to 1940.
In the early 1930’s, with the country in a great depression, wooden jigsaw puzzles, especially those featuring figural pieces, hit their zenith of popularity. Wealthy collectors bought them for pleasure and for entertaining guests, while the middle classes enjoyed renting them from local “libraries,” which operated much like today’s video stores.
The middle classes were also the puzzle makers – especially women. For a time, puzzle cutting was a booming cottage industry, as ladies could buy or borrow treadle scroll saws and manufacture puzzles at home.
It was also during the early 1930’s that die cut cardboard puzzles were first introduced, and became popular as promotional giveaways. While the cardboard puzzles made it possible for even the poor to enjoy this popular pastime, they did eventually spell demise for the great wooden jigsaw puzzle fad of the early 20th century.
Today there are still enough wooden jigsaw puzzle cutters out there to more than supply demand. One of the most famous wooden jigsaw companies still surviving from the 1930’s is Par Puzzles (ParPuzzles.com), whose marketing strategy was to continue catering to the wealthiest collectors.
Carrie soon realized there was not room for another full size puzzle cutter in today’s market, which is what motivated her to develop the miniature 1930’s-style Puzlet Gems (www.letsplayhistory.org/Puzlets/).
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