A few weeks ago I stumbled across one of the most amazing advertising premiums I've ever seen. Made in 1927, "McKee's Moving Puzzle" in its nondescript, 4 by 3 1/4 inch box holds a remarkable toy inside: a wooden furniture puzzle complete with some clever copywriting.
The McKee Moving & Storage Company was based in the city of Saskatoon in Saskatchewan, Canada. In 1927 they distributed this puzzle as an advertising premium to potential customers. The box cover reads,
"We can solve all your moving, packing, storage, and shipping problems."
Inside, the puzzle consists of 9 wooden pieces labelled as various pieces of furniture: piano, chairs, rug, mat, lamp, table, clock, and sofa. The trick is to move the piano from one corner to another without jumping, raising, or turning any piece, one piece at a time. (It's incredibly difficult. I gave up very quickly.) Clever ad copy inside the cover reads:
"Moving is always a problem. Placing the furniture is frequently a puzzle...we can solve this puzzle, as well as your Moving, Storage, Packing or Shipping problems. Write for solution."
Thank goodness the instructions were included, or I would never have managed it. The text ends with a final advertisement:
"If you have followed the above directions you are now an expert piano mover as far as this puzzle is concerned. However, should you have a real piano or other household goods to move back, store, or ship don't fail to call on us."
McKee's is apparently still in business, and if I lived in Saskatchewan, I would definitely hire them to move some of my furniture around, just to show my appreciation for this fantastic toy.