Dickens Coaching Zag-Zaw Puzzle


These puzzles were first published in 1912 as could be proven by the text of a leaflet:

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Someone sent me a Xerox of a box lid. Mentioning  "Their Majesties The King and Queen" on the box lid at first did suggest the 1925-36 period, but proved a reason to change my chart. This reference obviously was in use from 1910 on.

The pictures are by Albert Ludovici Jr (1852-1932) (Bob Armstrong did extensive research, thank you Bob) wrote a book: "An Artist's Life in London and Paris"  describing his love of coaching pictures and his painting of the Dickens Coaching Series, quote: "I cannot help  feeling sorry for the present generation, who have no idea of these good old times, and my only regret is that I did not live in the coaching days, which I have so often tried to depict in my Charles Dickens coaching series of pictures." Ludovici was a member of the British Royal Academy of Painters, Sculptors and Engravers and a member of the French School of Painting, admirer of the impressionist style of Whistler. Ludovici also lived in Paris and did engravings. He was probably making his coaching series in the late1800's and into the 20th century, when Raphael Tuck & Sons decided to join the centennial celebration of Dickens' birthday (1912) and acquired at least 16 pictures featuring coaching scenes from Dickens' novels from Ludovici to compose the puzzle series. Tuck reproduced 2 sizes of the series and sold them both as prints and in the form of puzzles (400p and 150p). These prints do turn up on sales occasionally, and have been printed, according to imprint "to their Majesties..." up into the 1930's .

Collectors of picture post cards are requested to inform us of the eventual use of the Ludovici pictures on post cards.

Bob Armstrong recently found a Tuck Zag-Zaw Double puzzle featuring 2 in the series, each in the 150p size. Ludovici painted even more Dickens' coaching scenes for the sheer love of old fashioned coaching scene puzzles which he expressed in his book. See Bob Armstrong's web site: www.oldpuzzles.com/examples_ludovici.htm

The puzzles were produced over a long period and in at least two sizes.

D 3

"Nicholas Nickleby on the Road to Dotheboys Hall", 113/4" x 7" 150 pieces, original price 5/= (collection Keith Lambeth)


D 4 Mr. Pickwick, his Friends and Mr. Alfred Jingle start for Rochester. 191/2"x 111/2"x 3/16"3-ply wood, 400 pieces, cut in the 'normal' Tuck way. This puzzle (collection Keith Lambeth) came in an ordinary Zag-Zaw box: 7"x 81/2"x 2 with a small guide picture on the bottom. The catalog that came with it can be dated in the mid 1920's

As early as 1912/13 we find these puzzles advertised in a German catalogue. 


A 1916 Zag-Zaw catalog gives pictures of the puzzles D1, D2, D3, D4, D7 and D8 and has a list of 16 puzzles (D1-16) in the series: 150 pieces 12"x 7" at 5/=, and 400 pieces 20"x 12" at 15/=.

D1  The Meeting of Pip and Estrella in the Inn Yard.

D2  David Copperfield Arrives in London.

D3  Nicholas Nickleby's departure for Dotheboy's Hall.

D4  Mr. Pickwick, his Friends and Mr. Alfred Jingle start for Rochester.

D5  David Copperfield on his way to School

D6  Mr. Pickwick leaves for London

D7  The Election at Eatonswill

D8  On the Road to Dingley Dell

D9  David Copperfield bids farewell to the Micawber Family

D10 Mr. Pecksniff and the Misses Pecksniff's return from London

D11 Mr. Pickwick and his Friends arrive at the Blue Lion, Muggleton

D12 Nicholas Nickleby on the road to Dotheboy's Hall

D13 David Copperfield's first sight of London

D14 The Pickwickians leave the Golden Cross for Rochester

D15 Tom Pinch departs to seek his fortune

D16 The Pickwickiand arrive at Eatanswill

coaching_1916.JPG (68608 bytes)

In a 1916 Zag-Zaw catalogue Multiple Zag-Zaws are first seen. Dickens Coaching subjects are among the available subjects.

A 1919 Zag-Zaw catalogue has the 150 piece puzzles in a series of 12 and the 400 piece puzzles in a series of 16, still at the well know prices of 150 pieces at 5/-, and 400 pieces at 15/-

In a Harrods catalogue (below) from the early 1920's we see a series of only 12 puzzles advertised (D1-12). still at the same price. Surprisingly, we see a picture of D16 in this catalogue, that is no longer available according to the list at the same page. Sorry for the quality of the picture, who can supply a better copy?

The page reads:

These charming designs illustrate some of the best known incidents described by Charles Dickens in his famous works.

They are of great interest and of sound educational value, and are a standard acquisition to every home.

Tuck did sell the series to Parker Brothers in Salem, MA (USA), who produced the larger version in a 350p  size. Bob Begeron owns a copy of the Tuck D11 puzzle as a Parker Pastime puzzle