The Photochrom Company of Tunbridge Wells and London features in today's post (4th December 2010). Postcard production was the main outlet for this printing company from the turn of the 19th/20th centuries. Fine quality wooden jigsaws followed later. The company operated the Photochrom process - invented in the 1880's by Hans Jakob Schmid - under licence from the Swiss company, Photochrom Zurich. Production also included railway posters and travel guides.
The starting date for jigsaw production is unknown to me but I have several titles of puzzles depicting steam railways in my inventory. Just one, unfortunately, enhances my collection, a 160-piece example titled L.N.E.R High Pressure Compound Engine No. 10000. It is described as an interlocking colour puzzle de luxe but in truth looks like a monochrome photograph with a small amount of colour added. It is shown in the accompanying picture.
No. 10000 was the number attributed to a Gresley, class 'W1' experimental locomotive, of 4-6-4 wheel configuration (technically 4-6-2-2). It became known as the "Hush Hush" locomotive because of the extreme security bestowed on its development phases. It was fitted with a high pressure water tube boiler and was completed at Darlington Works in 1929. I must admit that this was an extremely handsome locomotive but because of many problems, complete rebuilding was required from 1936. She re-entered service a year later. As a result she boasted a conventional boiler, and streamlining similar to the class 'A4s'; her 4-6-4 wheel configuration remained, however. Her BR number was 60700 and she was finally withdrawn from service in 1959.