Father Tuck’s Picture-Building A.B.C. 

February 25th 1909 Tuck got patent No. 4665 for their “Father Tuck’s Picture-Building A.B.C.” issued to Albert Einstein Kennedy

These puzzles were meant for children of six year and up and designed to teach the alphabet and some simple words. These card puzzles were sold in sets of three, with fairy tales, nursery stories etc., like Little Red Riding Hood, Cinderella, Robinson Crusoe and At the Farm. In each puzzle the description that fitted to the letters was printed on the back sides of the ‘shaped’ pieces. Twenty-six letters of the alphabet could be found on the tray, the X, Y en Z usually to be found on cubes or in a book in the picture. On the backside of the tray the story was told. These stories always ended well and were exciting but not cruel. For example, Little Red Riding Hood is never eaten by the wolf, though her grandmother is, but her father turns up in time, shoots the wolf and cuts it open to rescue granny. 

From the Hillier Archive (R49/3 The Hordern-Dalgety Collection) we learn that Louis Wain Jr. designed the ‘Fairyland’ puzzle in this series, with cats as fairy story characters such as Cinderella and Red Riding Hood in 1921. 

I do own a copy of such a puzzle with English captions, that is “Printed in Holland”. I do also have copies of these puzzles with Dutch captions, published by “Gebr. Koster, Naarden” and by “N.V. Nederl. Speelkaartenfabriek & Steendrukkerij Utrecht”, “….Utrecht & Amsterdam in another copy”  

The Tuck’s Dollycot Villa Picture Puzzles consist of a series of three domestic scenes. They each measure 10.5”by 8.5”and show  early 20th century dolls and toys. These include a penny toy mouse on wheels, plush toys, dolls, and a miniature doll’s bath set, pastry set, cleaning set, and stove, cooking utensils, and crockery. Each picture has removable pieces wit their name on the back eg ‘doll’s head’; the location of that piece is similarly marked on the tray that each piece fits into. Each picture has a story on the back; these stories are titled: ‘The Kitchen at Dollycot villa’, ‘The Nursery at Dollycot Villa’, and ‘The Drawing Room at Dollycot Villa’. The picture above shows the box and the puzzles of this set.   

 In a German 1912-13 Zag-Zaw catalogue we find an advertisement for “Onkel Tuck’s Puzzle Baukasten”. For girls they offer the set of three doll’s house puzzles: children’s room, living room and kitchen (Tuck # 9004), for boys the set contains a locomotive, automobile and steam ship (Tuck # 9005). Christa Pieske, Das ABC des Luxuspapiers, Dietrich Reimer Verlag, Berlin, 1984, p.314 shows a picture of the Doll’s House living room. The puzzle is advertised as a pedagogic game. A set of the German version: "Onkel Tuck's Puzzle Baukasten für Mädchen" is in the Sonneberg Toy Museum (their nube: 58/33). It is issued by: Raphael Tuck u. Sons Ltd. G.m.b.H., Kunstverleger, London - Paris - Berlin - New York -  Montreal, Hoflieferanten St. Maj. des Königs u. Ihrer Maj. d. Königin von England  


Astonishingly enough it is the set for boys that is known from the German company Wohlgemuth u. Lissner, Kunstverlagsgesellschaft m.b.H., Berlin S.W. This is almost exactly the same set as Tuck sold, with the box lid, captions of the pieces and story on the backside of the puzzles in German. Here the set is named Tante Lorés in stead of Onkel Tuck's. The logo of Wohlgemuth is printed in the locomotive on box lid and puzzle, and the car. The ship is this set is named ‘Germany’. The set is numbered 9005 like in Tuck’s catalogue. 

This set is advertised in Tuck's  German catalogs of 1912/13 and 1913/14 along with the set for girls, as seen in the picture below,  so you can compare the box lids.

Duits_baukasten.JPG (107212 bytes)

I also found a German set of three puzzles called "Eine Reise aufs Land" (A journey into the coutryside) with many farmyard animals. 

This set is issued by Wolgemuth u. Lissner, Kunstverlagsgesellschaft m.b.H., Berlin S.W., Wilhelmstr. 106. 

The story in rhyme at the reverse is (translated) by  M. Valentin - Hoffmeister. The set is 'Tuck' in every aspect save the texts in German (and the name of the editor).