It's no secret that current world events are changing the everyday life of many people and have brought an almost forgotten activity back into our lives. One of these activities is - who would have thought - doing jigsaw puzzles. Whether alone, with friends or with the kids, jigsaw puzzles are a great way to unwind and fill time with a creative and challenging task. But where does the puzzle actually come from and who invented it? We will get to the bottom of these and other questions exclusively for you in the following article.
1. The first jigsaw puzzle was made during the 18th century
Most historians agree that the English engraver and map maker John Spilsbury is the inventor of the puzzle. As early as 1766, Spilsbury glued a map of Great Britain onto a wooden board, which he sawed along the borders of the British counties. This is where the English term “jigsaw puzzle” comes from. He sold the sawn maps as teaching aids for geography lessons.
2. Jigsaw puzzles haven't been mass-produced for that long
The mass production and greater availability of jigsaw puzzles only began with the invention of the punching machine in the 20th century. According to ThoughtCo. Individual metal stamps were made for each puzzle, which were pressed onto cardboard or softwood boards to punch out the puzzle pieces.
3. Puzzles were once reserved for the rich
Unlike today, the popular game could only be afforded by the rich until the beginning of mass production. Each puzzle has been painstakingly handcrafted from expensive mahogany or cedar wood by gluing a picture onto the wooden panel and then sawing out each piece individually. In fact, nowadays there are some jigsaw puzzle manufacturers who make their jigsaw puzzles in a similar way again.
4. Puzzles were named after a saw
Have you ever heard the term "jigsaw puzzle"? That's what the English-speaking world calls the puzzle. The term "jigsaw" comes from the special saw used to cut the puzzles. However, the name has only been used since the 1880s, after this type of saw was invented.
5. Jigsaw puzzles became a popular hobby during the Great Depression
According to well-known puzzle collector Bob Armstrong, who actually wrote extensively about puzzles and even gave lectures, puzzles became a popular hobby during the Great Depression of the late 1920s. Many of the puzzles were made by skilled workers who were suddenly unemployed. Since few people had the money to travel, people preferred to puzzle exotic motifs.