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T Puzzle


Continued from product description on Classic Toys & Puzzles' Page Five...

Historical Background: The T Puzzle was first used in advertising in the early 1900s. The oldest puzzle that we know of is the one that was included with a box of White Rose Ceylon Tea distributed by Seeman Brothers of New York in 1903. The puzzle has four parts and has printed on the longest part, "Arrange these four pieces of cardboard so as to form a perfect T. White Rose Ceylon is a perfect Tea." The puzzle is blue and white with gold borders. One piece depicts a cup of steaming tea. Below are three of the actual pieces from this puzzle. A reference to the T-puzzle appears in "Carpentry & Mechanics for Boys," published by A. Neely Hall in 1918. Hall's description states, "The T-Puzzle, a famous old puzzle is more difficult to assemble than it looks." Hall gives a full-size pattern for making the puzzle with a scroll saw and the solution in his book.

Seeman Brothers' White Rose Ceylon T-Puzzle

Other merchants picked up on this idea of advertising with letter-dissection puzzles, and T Puzzles were eventually used by Anderson-Pitt Corporation of Kansas City, who sold electric heaters and by Armour & Co. of Chicago, who sold dry sausage. Known as "The Teaser Puzzle" or "The Tormentor," each of Armour's four pieces was printed with advertising messages. They did not enclose the solution. This message was stated on the puzzle package:

The Teaser, Please accept this interesting little puzzle with our compliments. You will find it a real test to fit the four pieces enclosed in this envelope together to form this perfect letter 'T.' If you fail to solve it, ask your dealer for the solution.

The H Puzzle was used by Hathaway Bread and featured six pieces wrapped in a paper bag which stated:

The new H Puzzle, only six pieces, can you do it, lay the six pieces together to form a letter 'H.' 'H' stands for Hathaway's, the bread that pleases everybody.

A French T Puzzle known as "L'été" was created around 1920 by N.K. Atlas in Paris. His version was not intended to be an "advertisement puzzle" and was sold in a cardboard box.

The T Puzzle is actually based on the six-piece "Ivory Cross Puzzle" that originated in China. The Ivory Cross Puzzle, or "Latin Cross," which was also cut diagonally into five pieces, was published in "Magicians' Own Book" in 1857. The five-piece cross puzzle can also be made into a rectangle, but the four pieces of the T puzzle can only make the letter "T."

Our T Puzzle (2102) is fun for children of all ages and is still used as an advertising tool by many businesses today, particularly at trade shows!

Fun Fact: Tea was first discovered in China in 2737 B.C.

Fun Fact: "Afternoon tea" was introduced in England around 1840 by Anna, the Duchess of Bedford.

Fun Fact: The first tea bags were introduced in 1904 by Thomas Sullivan, a New York tea and coffee shop merchant. Until this time, all tea was loose.

Fun Fact: Ice tea was created at the St. Louis World's Fair in 1904 by English tea concessionaire Richard Blechynden.

Fun Fact: The White Rose Company introduced the world's first instant ice tea, White Rose Redi-Tea, in 1953.

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T Puzzle
T Puzzle
Item Number 2102

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