Ayer’s Cherry Pectoral: A Puzzle From an Old Family Recipe

Many years ago, my great grandfather founded J. C. Ayer & Company, which provided remedies to customers around the world. This new puzzle features one of the original advertisements from Ayer’s Cherry Pectoral. Below, alongside a picture of the puzzle, you will find one customer’s accolades from an issue of Ayer’s Almanac from 1868, which was translated into many languages and distributed world-wide. This puzzle is 7″ x 11″ and has 174 pieces.

Ayer's Cherry Pectoral

Ayer's Almanac

Exhibit at Bates College

Cherry Pectoral Puzzle

Cherry Pectoral Puzzle

Going back to the late 80s, I had a way of making a good wooden puzzle at a fraction of the cost of a handmade one. I thought customers would beat their way to my door.  HA! Not so. My mother and aunt filched the membership lists of their clubs; I made my first catalogs and mailed them out. No member came to stroke my backside with his mashie but no one showed any interest either.

I decided to try to make puzzles from images silkscreened onto the wood. The image was an advertisement of Ayer’s Cherry Pectoral from about 1880. I had 40 images made but many were a little out of registration. I cut the best ones and gave most to family and friends. One I gave to Anne Williams.

Anne D. Williams is someone to whom we puzzlers are all indebted. Anne cuts puzzles and collects them. She also researches and writes about them. She has helped countless of us who cut for love and/or profit. In 1989 she put on an exhibit at Bates College. I put in the Cherry Pectoral puzzle and also a bigger puzzle with oversized pieces which could be put together by the public by day – and taken apart by night. Yankee Magazine saw the show and profiled me. That started my mailing list.