Sunday, May 5, 2013

Vintage 6-Sided Block Puzzle

Although the majority of these wooden block puzzles contain no visible copyright or manufacturer information anywhere, they most certainly hail from Europe, with the earliest examples produced circa 1938. The dandy 20-piece set can be assembled into six completely different Snow White scenes, all of which feature very early, atypical character renderings, the kind of work seen by international artists before Disney pulled in the reins.

At first sight, you may think this was not an officially licensed Disney product, and you might be right. However, several of the puzzle boxes I've come across have “FOREIGN” stamped on the bottom, something that has been seen on other products from that era which were Disney-approved. The marking also leads to the assumption that they were made for export.

Each puzzle cube measures 1.5" across and has a lithographed illustration attached to all six sides. Included with the set are six separate paper sheets showing what the assembled images should look like. Four are loose, one is attached to the outside of the box, and the other is on the underside of the lid.

This first example features a box cover with the Dwarfs' discovery of Snow White. The box itself is made of wood. Definitely a rare one!

The four loose sheets in this set include the Dwarfs marching home.

Snow White surrounded by the Dwarfs.

Evil Queen at the Mirror, Huntsman with heartbox, and Prince sneaking over wall to have a better look at Snow by the (wishing) well.

The Witch with Snow White and the poison apple.

Inside the hinged wooden box is the final scene, the Prince's arrival at Snow White's coffin.

The bottom of the box reads “FOREIGN”.

Wooden Box images courtesy of

Several variations in the box design were produced, with most simply fashioned from paperboard. No manufacturer markings anywhere on this edition. Measures 8" x 6.5".

Another example sports red-colored sides and a different cover image. Also, a bottom-stamp that reads "Made in Czechoslovakia". Since the Nazis took control of this region in 1939, it's likely this puzzle was produced at the time of the film's 1938 release.

Under the lid.

A marching Dwarfs box cover, though no red sides panels.


And now the completed puzzles...

Red Box Cover + Completed Puzzles courtesy of Rick Payne at dadric's attic.

It's always a treat when such a simple thing as a child's toy can offer a glimpse into another time, and in this case, also to some very early Snow White artwork!


  1. The one with Snow biting the apple is actually not too far off, model-wise. Some of the others seem to exist in a different universe!

    1. Especially the Dopey illustrations...a universe of their own. :)

  2. If anyone is interested, I have one available on eBay…the one with the white cardboard box, with 5 lithos. The lid of the original box has a "stick figure" drawn in red next to Snow White, and the edges of the box were taped and definitely show signs of wear, however everything inside is in tact and in amazing condition. Check us out, we are thekitchensink11 on eBay. :)