Bored Tiddlyrockers – Arctic, 1881
During our research into the Crystal Tipped Unicone and the Arctic regions Lost Impossimals we came across the old crew roster for the Vigilant, Charles Burroughs charted ship for his 1880-82 expedition to the Arctic Circle. Included in the list is the name Joseph Fincher underlined in red ink with the year 1881 written beside it, a practice normally used when a crew member has gone missing whereabouts unknown. Unusual because Charles does not mention this in his diaries, even more unusual because the disembarkation and paymaster records at the Maritime Institute in Bristol show that when the Vigilant returned Joseph Fincher was onboard. Two other names Milton Bradley and George S Parker are also highlighted, this time with a small red tick.
We could find no link between the three men until we found a torn note behind the cover of one of Charles diaries. It’s difficult to make out most of it but what we have deciphered is this.
‘…approached. We watched from a distance, they had managed to combat the long days and nights in the region by creating amusement and simple games from a selection of curious shaped objects. They slide along gracefully on curved legs and dine on spongy wrapped rolls full of what looked like our ice cream. These ‘Arctic Rolls’ as we have dubbed them will form part of the collection when we return; if we can we will also manage to bring some of the curious objects along too.
It’s not much but we think there was a secret expedition that Charles didn’t write about as we have discovered that all the three men are linked. We believe that all three men bought back with them several objects which were split accordingly, we also believe that Charles was involved but why and what he wished to gain we don’t yet know. Milton Bradley was in the game industry, he had already successfully released The Game of Life in 1860 so if he had heard rumours of the Tiddlyrockers that would have been his reason to jump at the chance to join Charles. Geroge S Parker was a young cabin boy on the expedition, upon his return he immediately and unexpectedly created his own board game, a year later in 1883 he had his own gaming business Parker Brothers. But the lynchpin is Joseph Fincher, he lay dormant for a number of years until 1888 when he filed a patent for Tiddlywinks, one of the games now identified in the Bored Tiddlyrockers painting.
We have a pattern emerging, these groups of people are not here by chance and the more we dig into the files we are uncovering more groups of linked individuals all tied inexplicably to several other Lost Impossimals.