draft pending completion 2018-01-16 0931

The Puzzle Museum Collection is the product of over 140 years of collecting by about ten people.

The principle collectors have been Edward Hordern and James Dalgety however very significant puzzles have come with gift or purchase of other collections:

The other collectors over the last century have included : -

Ambrose Spong (1843-1912) For Thirty-six Years Minister of Cliftonville Congregational Church, Hove. After 60 years his great great grandson found in his attic a small collection of his puzzles together with a unique collection of around sixty late 19th Century printed and manuscript puzzles mounted on card with brass hangers presumably to display in the church hall.

This image came from the history
 Anglicans in Prahran, 1854-2004,
by Graham and Margaret Bride (2004).


Reverend Henry Stanley Mercer (1855-1937) Clergyman in Australia and Coventry UK.

The Reverend Henry Stanley Mercer, a slim wiry man keen on walking holidays and a strong advocate of temperance. He spent 2 or 3 years in Australia in the late 1880s and was the instigator of the journal The Victorian Churchman. He later worked on the staff of CMS in London. Back in England he became curate-in-charge at St. Andrew’s, Droitwich. In 1894 he accepted the incumbency of Christ’s Church, Coventry. In 1901 he was located in Christ Church, Southwark, London, In 1911 he lived in Tewkesbury. He died aged 80 in Warwick in 1937.

His fine puzzle collection passed eventually to T.H.O'Beirne and then, still in wonderful condition, on to James Dalgety in 1974. The collection included the very rare early Australian "Lost Sheep" puzzle.

Dr. Simon Gerberich Stein II (1861-1926) of Muscatine, Iowa.

Graduated in medicine at Chicago University. In 1892 took over his father's banking interests. In 1922 he purchased the controlling interest the Hershey State Bank and became its Vice President. Amongst many interests he was a trustee of the P.M.Musser Public Library from its organisation until his death.

His was a nice small collection of around 100 puzzles that he used to amuse his grandchildren. The collection was purchased by James Dalgety in 2008. It is of of particular interest as it displays the full range of puzzle types, and of particular interest is the annotation on the backs of many showing when they were acquired. He also had several additional copies of some puzzles presumably either for competitive puzzling with grandchildren or as gifts.

(see "The Steins of Muscatine" Privately printed 1962)

Edith Senior with family in Wales
Edith Constance Jardine Senior (nee Hope-Murray) (1872-1959 ) A clergyman's daughter in 1902 who married Reverend Thomas Senior. Her small but special collection was stored in an attic in Wales for 70 years, from before WW1.

Tom O'Beirne with Solidac computer in 1969


T.H.O.Beirne. ( 1915 -1982) Professor of Computer Studies, Glasgow University. Author of Puzzle articles in The New Scientist and of the excellent book "Puzzles & Paradoxes". Gave the collection some of his original designs and prototypes.

Tom O'Beirne also pioneered some early use of computers to produce music using a Barr & Stroud "Solidac" computer in the 1960s. The Solidac was the first computer built in Scotland.

Eileen Scott


Eileen Scott (1915 -1986) Travelled extensively with the British Consulate service. Built up a magnificent collection of Dexterity Puzzles from 1960 and widened her interests to all types of mechanical puzzles in the 1970s.



Louis Elie Clainville-Bloncourt. (1918-1990) Amongst his other activities Louis wrote for the magazine Science et Vie and was Science Correspondent for the French section of the BBC World Service with a particular interest in the didactic value of puzzles.


Edward Hornby with Berrocals
Edward Hornby
Edward Hornby (1908-1998). Connoisseur, expert and collector of the very finest Pocket Watches, Netsuke, Fountain Pens, Puzzles and Puzzle Rings.

Mary Hillier


Mary Hillier (1917-1999) Great expert and author of books on Automata, Dolls, and Toys. Donated her wonderful research papers on British Toys, and her small but attractive collection of puzzles to James Dalgety.


Edward Hordern (1941-2000)
Lindsey & James James Dalgety (1944- )
In addition to these collections many puzzles have been exchanged with or purchased from, John Ergatoudis, Dale Overy, David Singmaster, Jerry Slocum, and other collectors too numerous to list here.