Did You Know? Jigsaw Puzzles Were First Created Using Paintings?


Jigsaw puzzles were originally made by painting a picture on a flat piece of wood and then cutting that picture into small pieces with a jigsaw. John Spilsbury, a London cartographer and engraver, is credited with being the first person to begin selling jigsaw puzzles around 1760. Jigsaw puzzles have since come to be made primarily of cardboard. Jigsaw puzzles soared in popularity during the Great Depression, as they provided a cheap and long-lasting form of entertainment.  It was around this time that jigsaws evolved to become more complex and more appealing to adults.

Most modern jigsaw puzzles are made out of cardboard since they are easier and cheaper to mass-produce than the original wooden models. An enlarged photograph or reproduction of a painting is glued onto the cardboard before cutting. This board is then fed into a press. The press forces a set of hardened steel blades of the desired shape through the board until it is fully cut. This procedure is similar to making shaped cookies with a cookie cutter. On top of cardboard puzzles, 3D models, roll-up mats, and many other forms of puzzles are currently available to stimulate critical thinking and provide entertainment to those of all ages.