Where Did Puzzles Originate?

A jigsaw puzzle is one of the most popular indoor games for kids. You must have spent hours solving these puzzles at childhood, and now your kid also does the same. The interesting fact about the jigsaw puzzle is this is such a game through which kids can learn a lot of things. They can be curious, attentive, focused and able to find a solution by solving such puzzles. Actually, there are different types of puzzles games are played, like Sudoku, word puzzles, and so on. But, jigsaw puzzle has become so much popular throughout all these years. Not only the kids, but this puzzle game has always been quite appealing to the adults also.

Have you ever thought of the origin of jigsaw puzzles? You will be surprised to know that the game was originated in the 18th Century and since then it has never lost its attractiveness. Today, you get so many advanced versions of a jigsaw puzzle where the puzzle pieces and boards and themes of the game have changed a lot. But, how was the early version of the game? It is time to look back at the history of this amazing learning game for kids as well as for the adults.

The Origin of Jigsaw Puzzle

Though there are lots of controversies about the inventor of the jigsaw puzzle, the historians prefer to give the credit to John Spilsbury, a mapmaker and engraver of England who invented this adorable game in the year of 1760. Spilsbury mounted a world map on a piece of hardwood and then cut it into pieces through a hand saw. He cut the pieces around the boundaries of the countries. He used to call this a ‘Dissected Map’ and his motive was to make kids learn geography. Spilsbury created several dissected maps and sold those for learning purpose. He continued doing this till 1769 and then he passed away. At this time, lots of business houses learn his process of making such a dissected map and continued the production.

19th Century Brought a Big Change

Though the jigsaw puzzle was born through the ‘Dissected Map’, it became a famous educational tool only for the rich and the royal family. History says it was in the collection of King George III. As the maps were built on the hardwoods, like mahogany, those puzzles became expensive and out of the reach of commoners. In those early days, the manufacturers only made the outside pieces so that players can make the frames of the maps. The inside pieces were quite simpler and not curved well. The pieces often didn’t get interlocked.

Later, in this century, the manufacturers came up with the foot-powered jigsaw though the term ‘jigsaw was not used then. Though the hardwood puzzles were expensive, those provided good returns. So, maximum manufacturers still believed in the old method of making puzzle pieces. But, the century was seeing the birth of cardboards puzzle pieces too. Those appeared during this century from the thought of making the game popular among all.

20th Century- Jigsaw Puzzle and the Great Depression

The popularity of the jigsaw puzzle was only increasing as several big business houses showed their interest in this. They entered into the market of a jigsaw puzzle and soon the game flourished as never before. In this century the Great Depression happened in America, which influenced the market of jigsaw puzzle hugely. The innovative style of the puzzles changed from this time and wooden pieces of puzzles lost their popularity this time. The leading companies invented the cardboard die-cutting method and that took no time to get famous because the labor cost reduced a lot. This causes the mass production of a jigsaw puzzle.

During the Great Depression, the jigsaw puzzle became hugely popular as that was the root of entertainment this time. The cost was within reach and it became a game within the family. One can complete the puzzles, scramble again and pass on to another family member to solve the puzzle. Not only for gaming purpose, but the puzzles became a strategy of marketing for big companies. The companies used to provide free jigsaw puzzle samples with the pictures of their products. This made people concentrate more on the pictures and the products were reaching many people.

21st Century and the Puzzles Are Still in the Game!

The cardboard puzzles are getting huge fame to kids and adults. Now, the games are not only for educational purpose but also for entertainment. Now, there are themed puzzle pieces, like animal kingdoms, water life, fairy tales, and lots of other amazing things. Today, the advanced 3D block puzzles are in a market where you can create numerous puzzles by using the same pieces. So, jigsaw puzzles now have become more challenging and more attractive. The modern technology in printing, making puzzle materials and die-cutting has made the jigsaw puzzles smarter and eye-catching.

So, here you get the history of jigsaw puzzles. You get to know how the amazing puzzle was originated and how it became popular. Today, jigsaw puzzles are made for all. There are puzzles for toddlers and also for older kids. The puzzles for toddlers often come with wooden blocks with a peg attached to that. They also get large pieces that will help them to identify the picture easily. There are certain puzzles which come with a sound that plays when the puzzle is solved rightly. The more your kid grow, they will get more pieces to solve the puzzle. For kids of 12 years and above, there are 500 pieces puzzles which are quite challenging. The adult puzzles come with more than 500 pieces of puzzles.

Making of Jigsaw Puzzles:

If you come across a set of Jigsaw puzzles, you will see that they are very evenly cut so that the pieces can fit with each other. These days most of the jigsaw Puzzles are made of paperboard. Basically, the set is a photograph that has been pasted on paperboard and then a press having steel blades have been used to make the puzzle pieces. The procedure is easy and cheap which lets the companies sell the jigsaw Puzzles at an affordable rate.

There was a time when a company had to use hydraulic presses to make the puzzle pieces. It is in the distant past as that method is quite expensive in the modern age. The press that is used today does require excessive force so that the pieces are separate and the cuts are clean. When it comes to ornate jigsaw Puzzles made of acrylic or wood, then companies may often use laser cutters. They are much more precise and provides better control to the operator. Also, they are more durable but they will definitely cost you much more than the usual jigsaw puzzles that are made with paperboard.

You may have seen jigsaw pieces that are square, rectangular or circular in shape. The common thing about them is that they are ‘interlocking’ in nature. There are some puzzle pieces that aren’t cut in a uniform way or the pattern of solving the jigsaw Puzzles can be different. Sometimes the edges are not smooth to make them more difficult to solve. There can also be spherical jigsaw puzzle which is quite different than the usual jigsaw puzzle that you get at the supermarket.

Computer Jigsaw Puzzles:

If you remember your childhood, then you will mostly think about the paperboard jigsaw Puzzles that were popular. Children used to crave for more jigsaw Puzzles that have more number of pieces and that was harder to solve. With the onset of computer technology, everyone started to gravitate towards playing games on the computer. Computer-based jigsaw Puzzles have been there for a long time and we have to say that they are fun. They can be quite simple and they can be complex as well. Both adults, as well as children, do love them and they can have varying contents.

The offline jigsaw Puzzles soon gave way to the online jigsaw Puzzles and these days they are quite popular. If you have a smartphone, then you can download your desired jigsaw puzzle app from the application store and have fun. Due to the enhancement in graphics and programming, there is an endless number of puzzles that one can enjoy from the very simplest to the hardest. Most of these games are free to play, so you wouldn’t need to spend a dime on it. One of the plus points of online jigsaw Puzzles is that you can have live competition from all around the world. The competitiveness gives you a different form of excitement which helps you to become more enthusiastic about solving the puzzle.

Today, you don’t even buy the jigsaw puzzle boards. There are digital jigsaw puzzles which you just need to download from the internet and play at your leisure. There are lots of sites which offer free jigsaw puzzles that you can play online. Human has an instinct for solving riddles and puzzles from an early time. A jigsaw puzzle is based on that curiosity and till date, it has not lost a bit of its popularity at all.