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If you wish to communicate with me about steam trains, railway art and related jigsaw puzzles, please email David, at : david.precology@virginmedia.com

Friday, 28 October 2011

A Pair of Falcons

Following on from the previous Waddingtons post, today 28th October 2011, I have chosen two pictures featuring jigsaw puzzles from another of the UK's well known manufacturers, Falcon. Established from his home in 1976 by Harry Jondorf, Falcon proceeded to be a major force in British jigsaw puzzles manufacture; company factory and headquarters were established at Hatfield in 1977.  When Jondorf retired in 1996 the company was aquired by a Dutch manufacturer from Amsterdam but jigsaw production has continued under the Falcon and Falcon/Jumbo names.

My first photo shows a 2005 jigsaw puzzle featuring the artwork of Robert Nixon. This 500-piece puzzle from Falcon is titled Truro to Windsor and shows the famous old lady of the Great Western Railway (GWR), No.3440 City of Truro, passing through Windsor Station in an early 20th century scene. She is heading a rake of GWR chocolate and cream passenger coaches and several passengers and station staff are included in the picture. The 'City' class of ten, 4-4-0 locomotives was designed by George Jackson Churchward in 1903. A year later while heading the 'Ocean Mails' train from Plymouth to Paddington, City of Truro attained a speed of 102 mph, the first time that a speed of 100mph had been recorded. Only one timekeeper was present, however, and two were required for authentification. As a result the record was never officially ratified; try telling that to a true 'dyed in the wool' GWR enthusiast though, and see what reaction you get.

The second pic is from the 1990's, Falcon Venture series and is titled At the Station. An early London Midland Scottish Railway (LMS) 'Royal Scot' class 4-6-0 locomotive, No. 6138 Fury, designed by Henry Fowler is pictured at a main line station with a small boy looking on. The station may be the one at Bushey as a strong resemblance can be seen in a painting in the book Railway Colour Album of 1932. The name Fury has been carried by three locomotives - an 1831 example built for the Liverpool & Manchester Railway, the locomotive in the jigsaw picture and the third, an LMS experimental high pressure locomotive No.6399. No.6138 was built in 1927, named Fury in 1928 but renamed a year later as London Irish Rifleman. Two station staff, a railway maintenance man and old enamel advertisements are also included by artist Gerald Broom. The puzzle comprises 500 pieces.

Friday, 21 October 2011

Two from Waddingtons

Today's post, 21st October 2011, features probably the most famous British manufacturer of jigsaw puzzles, Waddingtons. Many Waddingtons' puzzles depicted steam railways and two of them are shown in the following photographs.

The original company was founded in the 19th century by John Waddington and Wilson Barratt and renamed John Waddington Ltd., in 1905. The original printing business was successfully supplemented from 1922 with the introduction of playing cards. Jigsaw puzzles, using American cutting technology, were added to the company's expanding portfolio in the early 1930's. From the company headquarters in Leeds, Waddingtons produced circular puzzles from the 1930's and jigsaw puzzle books in the 1940's. Geographic jig-maps, made from the 1960's, were also very popular. The Christmas limited edition jigsaw puzzle range, revered by collectors, began in 1994, the same year that the company was purchased by Hasbro Inc., of America. The original name lived on, however, with Woolworths as a major supplier of 500 and 1000-piece puzzles. Woolworths survived until 2008 leaving the future of the Waddingtons name in doubt.

The first photograph shows the 350-piece puzzle titled An Audience with King Edward II. A man and his children are depicted overlooking a wall behind which the now preserved 'King' class 4-6-0 locomotive, No.6023 King Edward II, thunders by heading a rake of Great Western Railway (GWR) chocolate and cream passenger coaches. The Sydney Gardens form a majestic backdrop to this action on the Paddington - Bristol line. The only surviving Georgian gardens in Bath, they are now a public park. Built in 1840 the line is hidden in a cutting but trains can be viewed from vantage points clearly shown in Barry Freeman's superb artwork.

The second picture shows a magnificent Adams Radial Tank, 4-4-2 locomotive No. 488, designed by the Locomotive Superintendent of the London & South Western Railway (L&SWR), William Adams. The '415' class emerged from 1882 and eventually totalled 71 locomotives. They were called Radial Tanks as the trailing wheels were carried in a radial truck. The title of the 1000-piece jigsaw is, appropriately, Adams Radial Tank but the photographer is not named. The locomotive is preserved on the Bluebell Railway.

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

King George VI

Two jigsaw pics comprise today's post, 11th October 2011, both featuring locomotives named King George Vl (reigned 11th December  1936 -  6th February 1952).

The first shot shows a 72-piece, wooden jigsaw from Ponda (ex Ian Allan). 'Princess Coronation' class (8P) 4-6-2, 46244 King George VI, is depicted heading London Midland Scottish Railway (LMS) maroon carriages in a rural setting, presumably  on the West Coast Main Line. The artist is not named. This locomotive emerged with full streamlining in July 1940, the brainchild of the LMS Chief Mechanical Engineer, (Sir) William A. Stanier. The streamlined casing was removed in 1947; the locomotive  was withdrawn from service in 1964.

Charles Collett was the Chief Mechanical Engineer of the Great Western Railway (GWR) from 1922 to 1941. His giant 'King' class 4-6-0 locomotives were built between 1927-1928. Picture number two shows the Victory 100-piece, wooden  jigsaw titled King George VI. The locomotive of the same name appeared on GWR 'metals' in April 1928 and was withdrawn from service in December 1962;  she  is shown heading GWR chocolate and cream carriages in a rural setting with two lineside maintenance men to the fore. The artist was George Heiron.

Monday, 3 October 2011

Trains and Automobiles

Steam versus internal combustion has always been a favourite subject with railway artists. Many steam railway jigsaws feature this intriguing pairing, inviting people to think about how the  motor car made major inroads into the railway's domination of transport in the early to mid 20th century. Today's post, 3rd October 2011, comprises two pics of jigsaws from my 400+ British steam railway collection portraying this subject pairing in slightly different ways.

The first picture shows a jigsaw of 500 pieces from the Dutch company King International. Racing the Train is the title but I rather think that the vintage Singer car, an open top 1936 Le Mans, might have struggled in a true run race against a mainline passenger locomotive such as the example in the jigsaw picture, a Bulleid 'Pacific'. The driver and lady passenger seem to be enjoying the race, however. The locomotive is a 4-6-2 'Merchant Navy' class, No.35022 Holland America Line, designed for the Southern Railway by Oliver Bulleid, and  currently at the preserved East Lancashire Railway, under restoration. The artist is R. Wheatland.

The second picture, showing a 500-piece jigsaw from Gibsons, offers a different perspective on the post title. In this jigsaw, titled Brighton Bound, a vintage 1920's/1930's Bentley (?) car is portrayed, parked beside a railway line, as the elderly driver and his lady passenger stand alongside waiting to view a passing steam train. The latter is a London Victoria to Brighton Pullman express. Both locomotive and car look majestic and combine to make a superb jigsaw from the original artwork of Malcolm Root. The latter artist is well known for his love of all types of transport and its interaction with the general public. The locomotive in the picture is a Marsh/Billinton 4-4-2 'Atlantic' No.424, one of the 'H2' class of six, built in 1911-1912,  at Brighton Works. The superb livery of the London Brighton & South Coast Railway is best described as umber.