Jigsaw puzzles are one of the most popular kinds of puzzles in the world. It is a tiling puzzle where you have to connect oddly shaped pieces together in order to form a complete picture. These pictures are usually of buildings, animals, nature, landscape, or people. Each puzzle piece is one tiny part of that picture. The solver studies the shape and picture of the pieces to figure out which ones connect together. The more pieces that connect together the closer they’ll be to solving the puzzle. There are jigsaw puzzles with big pieces for beginners and smaller pieces for those who want a challenge. The bigger piece sets have fewer pieces, so it is easier to solve the puzzle whereas the smaller piece sets have hundreds or sometimes even thousands of pieces to put together.
The very first jigsaw puzzles had geographical maps mounted onto hardwood and then their national boundaries would be cut using a jigsaw tool. These were called “dissected maps” and they were used to teach geography to King George III’s children. In 1760, a London engraver and cartographer named John Spilsbury was the first person to create these jigsaw puzzles. Back in those days, jigsaw puzzles were not made out of cardboard like they are now days. They could only use a rectangular piece of hardwood with a picture painted or mounted onto it. Then the wood would get cut up into tinier pieces with the use of the jigsaw tool. This is where the name “jigsaw” comes from when describing the puzzle. However, this name didn’t actually start being used until fretsaws were used to cut the wood in 1880. With all of the wooden pieces cut out, the objective was to fit the wooden pieces together so that the original picture would be revealed.
Near the end of the 19th century, cardboard jigsaw puzzles were introduced to the marketplace but their popularity had a very slow start. Many manufacturers were afraid that people would think cardboard puzzles were lower quality. But the evolution of cardboard puzzles really took off during the Great Depression of the 1930s because they were a cheaper form of entertainment that people could afford and enjoy. Once World War II was over, companies started charging more money for wooden jigsaw puzzles and this led to their decline in popularity. People were already happy with the cheaper cardboard jigsaw puzzles and the sales of these puzzles increased by a lot.
Now days there are all kinds of jigsaw puzzles that you can purchase with a variety of different pictures to choose from. Some companies will even create personalized jigsaw puzzles using any picture that you give them. There are also virtual jigsaw puzzles that you can piece together on your computer. As for the cardboard puzzles, they continue to dominate the marketplace after all these years.