Back to our roots
Elms Handcut Puzzles
When Betsy Stuart founded our company in 1987, she used her initials E.L.M.S (Elizabeth Lee McShane Stuart) as its name. A few years ago the company rebranded as Waterford Puzzles. As we look forward, we are going back to our roots by returning to our original name. We believe this is a fitting way to honor Betsy’s love of hand-cut puzzles and celebrate her accomplishment for having founded one of the most recognizable and respected brands in puzzling.
No matter our name, the company’s talented artisans remain committed to making exceptional handcrafted wooden jigsaw puzzles. No computers. No lasers. This has been our commitment for over 35 years and we plan on keeping it for decades to come.
Here’s some other things to look forward to:
New puzzle boxes
We’ve heard and incorporated your feedback. Our new boxes will not only protect the puzzles better, but also contribute to a great puzzling experience from the moment you open the box. You can expect to see them at the beginning of 2024.
Even better quality
We’re committed to producing the world’s finest hand-cut wooden jigsaw puzzles. In that effort, we investigated ways to reduce image paper lift and glare. We’re really happy with the results and think you will be too. Our newest puzzles will be even more durable and easy to see under bright light.
Thanks for joining the journey that began in 1987. Happy puzzling!
Chris & Shay, co-owners
1987 - 2018
Betsy Stuart (whose initials are E.L.M.S.) had a lifelong fascination with wooden jigsaw puzzles thanks to an uncle who cut puzzles when she was younger. She began cutting her own puzzles and slowly built up a business around it, formally starting ELMS Puzzles in 1987. Soon she was hiring and training others to help her. After her husband, Fred, sold his previous company in 1990, Fred and Betsy retired to Maine. Betsy designed their large log home to contain the puzzle company in the lower level and their living space on the upper level.
After a courageous fight with ovarian cancer, Betsy passed away in 2007. Her husband, Fred, along with artisans Lisa, Rose, Debby, Chris, and Kristin, continued the business and worked tirelessly to continue Betsy’s vision of beautifully handcrafted puzzles that will someday become, as Betsy called them, “future antiques.” Now that he’s retired, Fred is spending more time with family and friends.
Betsy Stuart, Founder of ELMS Puzzles, in 1997
Fred Stuart, 2018
The ELMS Puzzles team, 2018
ELMS Advertisement, 1997
ELMS Signature Piece, 1997
(Some of) The Waterford Puzzles Team, 2021
Spencer and Lizzy Bean, 2021
The Waterford Puzzle Company
2018 - 2023
In 2018, Fred retired at the age of 90 and passed the torch to puzzle cutter Debby’s niece, Lizzy Bean, and her husband, Spencer.
Like Betsy, Lizzy grew up with a family member (her aunt Debby) cutting puzzles and wanted to keep the tradition alive. ELMS Puzzles continued on as The Waterford Puzzle Company, in honor of the nearby town in Maine—Waterford—where Debby lived and Lizzy spent her childhood summers doing puzzles.