Interesting Facts About the Jigsaw Puzzle

As a brain-teaser and stress reliever, the jigsaw puzzle is one of the most popular pastime activities that can liven up a boring, rainy afternoon. But even if you have completed those puzzles with a thousand pieces, we bet that some of the facts listed in this post are news to you. Have you heard about the largest hand-cut puzzle? Did you know who invented it? Read on and discover more interesting trivia about this all-time favorite pastime!

(Image sources: and
(Image sources: and

What is a Jigsaw Puzzle?

According to Wikipedia, “a Jigsaw Puzzle is a tiling puzzle that requires the assembly of, often oddly shaped, interlocking and tessellating pieces. Each piece usually has a small part of a picture on it; when complete, a jigsaw puzzle produces a complete picture.”

From this definition, it’s easy to see that the jigsaw puzzle is a mind game that tests the imagination and patience of the player/s. This table game also shows potential in strengthening bonds between families when played together either as a hobby or as a boredom buster.


History of Jigsaw Puzzle

It was in 1767 when the first jigsaw puzzle was introduced to the public’s consciousness. John Spilsbury, an English cartographer, chopped a wooden map of Britain and then asked people to reassemble it. At that time, Spilsbury called it a “dissected puzzle”. So where did the name “jigsaw” come from? Originally, these puzzles were crafted by painting pictures on large sheets of wood, and then using a jigsaw to cut the pieces; hence, the name.

Let’s talk about “Largest” and “Most Expensive”

The largest jigsaw puzzle to date, and currently holding the Guinness Book of World Records, is the 551,232-piece puzzle assembled by the students from the University of Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam last 2011. 1,600 students worked together for 17 hours to complete the puzzle. If a single person attempts to solve this behemoth, he or she needs to work 8 hours a day for 9 years in order to complete it!

The previous record holder for the largest jigsaw puzzle was Singapore. Their masterpiece was composed of 212,323 pieces, which is still impressive and challenging to complete. The country was holding on to their title since 2002.

(Image source:
(Image source:

The largest hand-cut jigsaw puzzle, meanwhile, is composed of 40,763 pieces. It was made from 6mm plywood and was crafted by Dave Evans from Weymouth in Dorset, England.

Mr. Evans spent 200 hours hand-cutting the wooden pieces. His masterpiece features a collection of photos from the Queen of England’s Diamond Jubilee. When grouped together, the puzzles span 19 feet by 8 feet, making it almost as tall as a two-story building.

(Image source: The Sunday Times UK)
(Image source: The Sunday Times UK)

The largest commercial puzzle is from Ravensburger, a well-known puzzle manufacturer. With 32,256 pieces and a measurement of 17 feet by 6 feet, it features the brightly-colored images of Keith Haring’s artwork.

The most expensive jigsaw puzzle costs $27,000 and was only composed 500 pieces. Doing the math, the puzzle cost about $54 per piece. It was then sold in a charity auction.

Actually, there’s more to jigsaw puzzle than meets the eye. You didn’t think it’s just a simple game of putting the right pieces together, right? Of course you didn’t. This fun, interesting and all-time favorite table game also has health benefits. Here’s a rundown:

  1. Jigsaw puzzles make your entire brain work. The left side, or the analytical portion of our brain, works with logic and helps us sort the pieces. The right part, or the creative side of our brain, guides us to see the finished product and work intuitively.
  2. It helps develop dexterity, hand-eye coordination, and tune motor skills.
  3. Completing a puzzle encourages our brain to produce the chemical called dopamine that helps improve learning and memory. Furthermore, it also helps keep our brain healthy.
  4. According to recent studies, solving puzzles along with practicing a second language every day can reduce the risk of neurodegenerative diseases. It also improves cognitive function and prevents memory loss, dementia, and Alzheimer’s disease.
  5. According to the MacArthur study, it is said that people who solve jigsaw puzzles are more likely to have a better quality of life and have longer life expectancy.

Amazing, isn’t it? When you think that you’re simply putting pieces together and killing time, you’re actually doing more for your brain and general well-being. Now start completing your jigsaws again using the tricks that we’ll share below.

  1. Group the pieces according to their color.
  2. Sort out the pieces with the straight edge, indicating that they are to be placed on the outermost part of the puzzle.
  3. Some experts say that standing up can also be helpful because it allows you to see the “larger picture”. This is especially necessary when you are working on 1,000 pieces or more.


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How about you? What’s the largest jigsaw puzzle you’ve ever completed? Feel free to share your stories in the comments!

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