Discovering Ravensburger jigsaw puzzles
I am on a trip of a lifetime to the noisy Big Apple and am shocked at the sheer scale of New York City, it is indeed a place which never sleeps. No wonder some have named this vibrant destination twice.
We do the usual department stores including world-famous Macey's. We're keen to find a place where my daughter would like to go too. And that's the 150-year-old toy store Schwarz on 5th Avenue - a firm favourite with the young of age and heart. Two real-life toy soldiers greet us and open the large glass doors for us. It is totally mesmerising; we head up the escalator to escape into another world. A giant dinosaur roars as we reach the top. I glimpse on the far wall smiling children in photographs and I catch the words Ravensburger jigsaw puzzles.
Whist waiting for my daughter to finish looking at some Cinderella dresses I tap into my smartphone "Ravensburger". I am amazed at what I discover. I knew Ravensburger had been around for a while but their beginnings took me by surprise.
Ravensburger was founded in 1883 by Ottor Robery Maier in a town called Upper Swabia, Southern Germany. He began by publishing not jigsaws but instructions for craftsmen and architects. A year later he published his first board game which he names "Journey around the World". Quite why he moved from instructions to board games it remains unclear. But then the link becomes clearer. By 1900, his company's product lines included not only art instruction manuals but also books and board games.
The famous Ravensburger blue triangle trademark was registered in 1900 and twelve years later this ever-increasing business began exporting to Europe and Russia. It is an extraordinary success story: by the First World War, Ravensburger had around 800 products. Sadly, Ravensburger's publishing house was damaged during the Second World War but they still managed to carry on producing children's games and books which specialised in art books, architecture, and other hobbies. Amazingly Ravensburger jigsaw puzzles only started to be produced from the 1960s.
Today Ravensburger is one of the leading manufacturers of jigsaw puzzles - its range of Puzzleballs are always particularly popular. It's incredible to think that Ravensburger jigsaw puzzles have brought such enjoyment to young and old over those years. A small hand pulls me away from my smartphone and I found myself in the queue buying yet another Cinderella dress.