The Dolly-Kwiz

This puzzle, patented on 20th October 1914, commemorates the opening of the Panama Canal in that year.


A substantial quantity of mercury, or quicksilver, has to be manipulated through the narrow canal from The Atlantic to the Pacific oceans, whilst filling the two lakes on the way.

This is quite a challenge as the glass is tight to the top of the thick cardboard "map", so the puzzle must be shaken to break the big blobs of mercury into smaller ones to make is possible to move them through the narrow space.

Mercury is a cumulative poison and is no longer used in toys and schools the way it once was. One of our venerable curators remembers how much he enjoyed pushing his hand down into a bucket sized glass vessel of mercury at school. This perhaps explains both his eccentric behaviour and why his teeth have fallen out.


The Puzzle was obviously distributed in substantial quantities in the USA, as The Puzzle Museum collections include examples variously claiming to have been made by A.H.Balliet, Allentown,PA, and expressly manufactured for S.R. Co., New York, and Hubin's Big Postcard Store in Atlantic City.

It was also produced in several different sizes, of which we have a 130mm (5 inches) wide, and 96mm (3.75 inches) wide.

We would like to hear of any other sizes you may know about.

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