Notes from Puzzle Palace

Sunday, April 18, 2021

Puzzles and news.

This past week I was browsing Etsy like one does and came across this seller of chopsticks cum puzzle maker.  I purchased 5 puzzles and thought that would be the end of it.  Later that day I recieved a message asking if I would like a 6th puzzle that he hadn't listed.  Sure, why not, the price was good and I am all for completeness.  The puzzles arrived rather quickly, and I brought them in for George to see. He of course put them into Burr Tools as is his standard MO.  

I bought the puzzles because I liked the idea of using reclaimed cutoffs to make them.  The thought of using all those bits rather than tossing or burning them appealed to me.  When I looked at the puzzles I was originally purchasing them to add to the collection.  James gave me a good piece of advice, he said I couldn't possibly purchase all of the puzzles I saw, but should go for a variety.  I've had a breadth over depth philosophy for a while now and this was an extension of that.  Ok.  Ok.  We don't talk about twisty puzzles, or Berrocals...

As it turned out, these were fun little things that would be wonderful gateway puzzles.  They are simple  enough for newbies but with enough of a challenge to keep them going for a while.  They are puzzles you can put on your coffee table and not worry about taking hours to solve if they get mucked up.  I rather enjoyed the scrap pack box while George's favorite was the stealth bomber.  I think he liked the single color of the main piece.  I'm eager to see what his pieces numbered 4 through 9 are like.

Yes, those are a few Pro puzzles by Peter Heim.  No, I haven't opened them yet.  I'm not that clever. 

On Puzzle Palace news, nothing more exciting than puzzle hunting is happening here.  I have spent the last week doing a good clean up of our home.  The people who were to put the first epoxy layers on the garage floor in the museum came down with COVID and are (thankfully) putting us on hold for 2 more weeks. Nothing else has happened here. I should be grateful for the downtime.  Next week the landscaping will be done at Puzzle Palace, then it's replacing the pool decking and all will be finished until the next go round. 

Finally, I will copy a post from Jame's webpage. Now I know this is not news to my few readers, but I am posting it for two reasons.  The first is the line in red.  I ask that this be respected and that the emails  asking me to sell our duplicates stop.  We haven't even recieved the collection yet and I feel as though the vultures are circling.  I'm spending all too much time repeating that we will not sell or trade anything for 3 more years. 

The second is to show how long James has been looking for a home for his collection.  We are honored that he chose us to carry on the guardianship of this impressive collection.  We can't begin to thank him enough.  



Great News from The Puzzle Museum. We are delighted to announce that we have a new home for The Puzzle Museum puzzle collections.

For many years we have been looking for a suitable home for the puzzles in Museums and Universities in the United Kingdom or Europe. They were amazed at the huge breadth of the collections and admired its great educational value, but all pleaded either lack of space or or lack of funding. We were therefore absolutely delighted when George and Roxanne Miller offered to take over the collection and house it in a beautiful and specially converted house near Miami, Florida where they plan to continue to keep it available for the puzzle community and for researchers to study. They also plan to continue adding to it for the future.

As of March 2021 the puzzles and puzzle books are being shipped to Miami. We expect the collection soon to be renamed to include the Miller name. James Dalgety and his family will continue to look after around 500 representative mechanical puzzles which will be recorded as part of the Hordern-Dalgety Collection but not housed in Miami.

James Dalgety retains the rather neglected ephemera and printed materials which he hopes to catalogue in coming years, along with his collection of hidden compartment items. He will continue to buy new puzzles for his own amusement also antique puzzles for both himself and for the collection in Miami. He also hopes to spend more time walking the dogs, playing with his old games, toys, computer games, and other crazy accumulations of stuff. This website will remain but its future emphasis will be on adding information on the older puzzles, ephemera, and perhaps some digressions into antique toys, games, &c..

We wish every success to the Miller's Puzzle Museum in Florida. It will take at least 6 months to be unpacked at its destination and there will be no sale or swapping of duplicates for at least 3 years - We will post details here when appropriate.

To see the progress of the Museum building in Florida please go to Roxanne Miller's blog.

Older Status reports.

The Puzzle Museum - Status and Objectives as stated in 2017.

The Puzzle Museum is a private collection-based museum. Owing to lack of appropriate facilities, it is not currently open to the general public. Visitors, mostly world experts in the field, can come by invitation, or recommendation only. Unfortunately this is unlikely to change until we can find a permanent institutional home for the collection.

In the 1990s much time was spent trying to find suitable premises to open to the public but, unfortunately, we were not successful. Ironically, since that time several major collections have been given to the museum, including the incomparable Hordern Collection, and the overall collection has quadrupled in size and has to be held at various different locations. It has now outgrown its original ambition of being a tourism based museum and has become an important international research archive. 

The collection is the finest of its type in the world. It is the product of over 140 years of collecting by about ten different people.

The collection includes a few items of great antiquity; however its main strengths are the 19th Century European collection, and its near comprehensive collection of puzzles from the last quarter of the 20th Century. It amounts to several tens of thousands of puzzles, plus ephemera and a related library of around 2500 books. It is possibly 1,000 times larger than needed for a tourist based puzzle museum but is unique as an international archive. It is extraordinary that, unlike such items as Dolls, Watches, Model Trains, Worcester teapots or Chippendale chairs, there is no comparable collection of Puzzles open to the public anywhere in the world. The Puzzle Museum has therefore given itself the following objectives: -

  • To produce an annotated digital photographic overview of the collection. The current plan is for this to be made freely available on the museum's website (at low resolution) and to be made available at high resolution, at a price, on CDs.
  • To maintain and conserve the existing collection for future generations. The collection is currently stored at several locations with basic controls of humidity and temperature. The policy with damaged puzzles is, where possible, to ensure that they work as intended; but otherwise to conserve them with the minimum of interference. It is considered that attempting to restore to "original condition" does more harm than good.
  • To add to, and improve, the collection by upgrading the existing collection, and purchasing representative examples of new puzzles.
  • To find a suitable home to ensure the long-term future of the collection. This will either be in a public museum or with a private collector who is able and willing to adopt these objectives.
  • To enable at least parts of the collection to be seen by a much wider audience, and take advantage of the collection's huge potential as a didactic resource in many fields including Mathematics, History, 19th and 20th century Design, Packaging Design and, most importantly, the development of analytical thinking over the past 300 years.
  • To produce a comprehensive and detailed catalogue of the collection.
  • To look for funding and other means of achieving these objectives.

In the absence of any external funding and with a current staff of less than two, it is obvious that we have a big puzzle and a big challenge... If you know of any prospective long term home for the collection, please ask them to contact us.


upd. 2021-04-14

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