Dissected Maps

Dissected Map

Made in Troy.

By Carl Johnson

Before he moved to Springfield, Massachusetts to publish the famous dictionary with his brothers, Homer Merriam had a little business in Troy. Merriam, Moore & Co. made globes, maps, and something called a "Dissected Map" -- a type of puzzle that's still popular today.

Merriam, Moore & Co. was first established by brothers William and Homer Merriam in 1842 in what was the then-new Cannon Building in Troy. They were most famous for producing the Franklin series of globes, but they also produced a delightful series of items called "Dissected Maps," a "useful and instructive gift for the young."

The map's puzzle pieces came in a handsome hinged box designed to look like a book. The David Rumsey Map Collection at the Luna Commons has a preserved copy of an 1854 Merriam, Moore dissected map of the United States -- it's missing significant chunks of the Midwest, but notes the "Indian Territory" we now call Oklahoma, and generally denotes Canada as "British America." At a then-expensive $1.50, the puzzles were probably only within reach of the upper crust, but the concept has clearly stood the test of time.

Merriam, Moore went through a number of names and partners over the years, and were later known as Moore & Nims, H.B. Nims and Nims & Knight. Their Franklin series of globes, produced in Troy until about 1896, remain highly collectible. "Being made by an entirely new and improved process, they are much stronger than other Globes, and are warranted against cracking."

Photo by Flickr user Iliazd

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