Hood’s Sarsaparilla Rainy Day Puzzle. Lowell, Mass.: C. I. Hood & Co., 1891. Chromolithograph in original accompanying frame.
Advertising in the form of puzzles, with the potential to provide collective entertainment in leisure hours, came into fashion in the late 19th century. Popular medicine manufacturer C. I. Hood was one of the most prolific producers, as well as the first U.S. firm to use die-cut, curved, and interlocking cardboard puzzle pieces. The firm issued several variant editions of Rainy Day into the 20th century. Each puzzle was accompanied by a brochure promoting the tonic’s effectiveness in curing a range of diseases and medical conditions. As with this puzzle, some early “dissectologists,” or jigsaw puzzle enthusiasts, framed the visually appealing advertisements to adorn their walls.