So far, the cutting styles can not been used as evidence for dating a puzzle. I need much more information to couple a certain style to a specific period. Please help me.
Squares and Figures (= Normal Tuck style)
This cutting style is well known for most Zag-Zaw puzzles for most of the time Tuck produced Zag-Zaw puzzles. The cutter started making strips, using an undulating cut. The strips were cut into squares. In each square a figure (silhouette, shape, figural) was cut and the remainder was cut into c. 5 pieces with an undulating cut. A multitude of figures has been in use, the older puzzles normally having 'cruder' figures, the newer puzzles more elegant figures with more detail.
Reverse side of Tuck's Zag-Zaw "The Fisher Folk", c. 1920's, 350 pieces, size 11 1/2"x 17 1/2" x 3/16", artist: E.Young, collection Keith Lambeth.
Tough the sections (squares) normally are cut with a wavy line, sometimes more intricate patters are seen as in 'Juliet'. In this puzzle the top two figurals are hard to name.
Known from 'Tuck's Special Pocket Edition'. The knobs are strikingly angular in stead of the more frequently seen round knobs, like for example in Victory and in Chad Valley puzzles. Advertised in a catalogue of the early 1920's. Cutting style called 'interlocking' by Tuck. Picture: collection Keith Lambeth.
Also known from Zag-Zaw puzzzles (from the 1925-35 period?) a form of strip cut like in the Chad Valley puzzles. Horizontal (or vertical) trips are cut with large interlocking knobs. The strips are cut into pieces with hardly interlocking cuts.
This is the cutting style Tuck presumably did start with in the early 1900'. No figures, but sometimes following strip cut with undulating lines and sometimes combined with line cutting, that is, following colour area's of the picture.
"St. Marks Square, Venice", about 75 pieces, size 9"x 5 3/4", artist E.M.B. Warren, original price 3/6, courtesy of Keith Lambeth. Undulating cut with strip cut.
Tuck's Zag-Zaw "Fidelity after Greuze", size 8 3/4"x 6 1/2"x 3/16", over 100 pieces, original price 3/2, courtesy of Keith Lambeth. example of undulating cut + line cut.
The puzzle above is hard to date. From the reference on the box "to Their Majesties The King and Queen" one would say 1925-36, the undulating+line cut suggests an earlier date. The backing of the plywood is in luxury mhogany! The picture is a colour lithograph, which was not in ordinary use after WW I. Could this be a special order?
A way of fully interlocking strip cutting, first seen in a 1935 Crazy-Cut catalogue.
Cazy cut puzzle "Bird of Paradise", from my collection.
Earlets and Figures
This style probably came into use in the 1930's in Zag-Zaw puzzles. Since the loops are indented I named them earlets. The cut starts with one or a few long lines with sparse earlets to cut the puzzle up into more easy to handle parts. These smaller parts are cut into strips while cutting elegant figures (shapes, silhouettes), so the figures are arranged in rows. The remainders are cut into pieces using earlets.
The figures show much more detail than in the earlier Zag-Zaw's, but would never reach the quality of the Parker Puzzles.
Very elegant figure pieces in a puzzle owned by John Hyde. Probably cut in the 1930's
Jazz with Multiple Part Figures
Only seen in Jazz puzzles, so after 1930. Pictures courtesy of Anne Williams.
Completely interlocking die cut
It might surprise you, but Tuck issued a cardboard puzzle to commemorate the crowning of Queen Elizabeth II in 1953. The puzzle is die cut in the way most 'modern' cardboard puzzles are cut: completely interlocking