hist-games: Tomus = jigsaw puzzle?

Geert Bekkering g.h.bekkering at fys.hen.nl
Mon Jan 3 05:08:46 PST 2000


My name is Geert Bekkering. I'm new to this list. My prime interest is the history of the jigsaw puzzle. I thought they were 'invented' in about 1760 by John Spillsbury, a London mapmaker, who pasted his maps on thin boards of Mahogany and cut them along the boundaries "to facilitate the teaching of Geography'

This fall a read a mystory novel by Peter Tremayne, from his 'Sister Fidelma Series'; The Monk who Vanished. Here the 'detective' in the end of the book tells she is missing a few pieces of the puzzle to see the solution. She uses TOMUS for 'puzzle' and a refers to a 'game' made from wood, she played with as a child.

I did write with Peter Tremayne (the author) and he informed me, the word TOMUS / TOMHUS was used in ancient Celtic literature in a sense meaning 'measuring, weighing, considering, riddle, also connected with quantity and amount. This, so far, doen not make clear that the word TOMUS refers to the jigsaw type of puzzle. It could also be the burr type of puzzle. 

When TOMUS would refer to the jigsaw type of puzzle, this would be a leap of about 1000 years back in the jigsaw puzzle history.
Is there anyone out there who could help me in this quest.

Geert Bekkering
J.P.Coenstraat 24
7541 BP Enschede
the Netherlands
tel: +31-53-4300691
g.h.bekkering at fys.hen.nl



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