Dear Ms. Johnson,
Thank you for posting your request on History Hub!
We located two additional examples of the puzzle on Ebay that include images of the box identifying the manufacturer as the Viking Manufacturing Company of Boson, Massachusetts, and the distributor as the American News Company, Inc.
The following blog provides information about another Picture Puzzle Weekly puzzle published by Viking Manufacturing as well as a small amount of information about the company. It also mentions a reference book that may prove useful: 1930s Vintage Weekly Picture Jigsaw Puzzle Series A-4 "Lion in Sunset"
The practice of mass producing jigsaw puzzles for weekly publication and sale at newsstands is described on the History of Puzzles page on the Puzzle Warehouse website, which lists the Picture Puzzles Weekly series as an example.
For additional information you may wish to contact an antique dealer, a puzzle enthusiast website such as Bob Armstrong's Old Jigsaw Puzzles, or organizations such as the Association for Games & Puzzles International and The Strong National Museum of Play. There also are online forums and social media groups that may be helpful, such as the Jigsaw Puzzle Enthusiasts group on Facebook.
Lastly, you may wish to contact Boston area libraries, historical societies, and local history museums for information about the Viking Manufacturing Company.
We hope this is helpful. Best of luck with your research!
Thank you for your reply to my inquiry. One thing that continues to puzzle me is the shape of the pieces. I too have looked at other similar puzzles, but have never seen one that has a Nazi theme. It looks to me, and some friends that I've shown it to, that these pieces reflect specific objects:
I didn't get to finish my last post. The pieces look li
- a cherry bomb which is a German hand grenade
- a piece that looks like Saturn, is an ocean mine
- a bottle
- the head (profile), which could be Hitler.
- and in particular the sever pieces that make up the Nazi sign.
Was this typical? Is this something that supported Germany in WWII?
Without a confirmed publication date, it is difficult to say if any this was even done when Hitler was in power and therefore world famous.
I think you are misinterpreting these shapes. Cherry bombs are fireworks, not grenades. I don't see any particular resemblance between that and any grenade in use by Germany during WWII. Neither does the vaguely Saturn shape piece have any particular resemblance to any German mines. The head profile could be anyone.
Most importantly, that is the wrong type of swastika. The Nazis used an clockwise swastika, almost always tilted, wearas this this is a counter-clockwise swastika, or sauwastika. At any rate, both forms of swastika were widely used in many cultures. In Western culture in in early 20th century, it was a popular good luck symbol and decorative element that could be found in many places in both counterclockwise and clockwise forms.
However, it is interesting to note that this image of the Series B-4 puzzle lacks a swastika, and indeed many of the puzzle piece shapes are different. Whether it was common practice at the time to print the same image with multiple different ways of cutting it, or if this represents a latter edition of the puzzle with with the shapes changed and the swastika deliberately omitted because of its increasing association with Hitler, I couldn't say.
I'd suggest you contact one or more of the sources about puzzles listed in Mr. Atkinson's reply.