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Piecing together the history of jigsaw puzzles

Piecing together the history of jigsaw puzzles
As people all across the country pull out puzzles to weather social distancing, Mo Rocca puts together the history of the popular pastime


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The very first jigsaw puzzle

The very first jigsaw puzzle

In the 1760s, a London mapmaker John Spilsbury pasted a map onto a thin piece of wood, and cut it up with a scroll saw. England would be one piece, Germany would be another.

He marketed these to very affluent and influential people as a tool to teach their children geography.




Puzzles: Interlocking pieces

Puzzles started expanding beyond learning, with puzzles showing nursery rhymes, fairytale subjects, ships, and trains.

In the early twentieth century, gaming company Parker Brothers invented interlocking pieces, each one cut by hand.



The puzzle: A pastime during the Great Depression

During the Great Depression, jigsaw puzzles became highly popular as entertainment and employment.

With so many people without work, they would buy a scroll saw and a jigsaw, make jigsaw puzzles in their kitchen or basement, and sell them to their neighbors, or rent them out.




Jigsaws began as dissected maps

Jigsaws began as dissected maps
  • John Spilsbury invented puzzles in the 1760s as a way to make geography lessons more fun for schoolchildren.
  • They remained part of the classroom until the ...

Jigsaws increase in popularity

  • The early maps did not have a paper picture to act as a guide. In 1908, Parker Bros added a print of the complete image to the box.
  • Picturing the destination made puzzles more enticing.
  • The Great Depression in the 1930s increased sales of jigsaws in the United States to top a million a week.

Solving a jigsaw is rewarding

Completing a jigsaw of an artwork entails getting to know the artist's work intimately, becoming familiar with every element and gradation of colour and tone.

Intriguing jigsaw pieces are vital sources of information to the puzzle. They create data points that guide you to completion.

Multiple Intelligences

Multiple Intelligences

Harvard psychologist Howard Gardner described nine different types of intelligence in his book Frames Of Mind: The Theory Of Multiple Intelligences.

Each ‘type’ of intellig...

Naturist - Nature Smart

There are people who find nature to be meditative and feel closely connected to trees, rivers and flowers. The natural elements around them like the clouds and the universe attracts them.

They make great astronomers, botanists, geologists and landscape architects.

Interpersonal - People Smart

Some people love interacting with friends, family and colleagues. They understand body language, and communicate better and are sensitive to others feelings, perspectives and viewpoints. This super-important intelligence type can be applied to most careers.

Interpersonal Intelligence types can have great careers as managers, psychologists, teachers and social workers.

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Disneyland: The beginning

Disneyland: The beginning

The story of our all time favourite amusement park started back in 1953 when Walt Disney presented his idea to build the biggest amusement park ever to his previous employee, the illustrator Herb R...

The opening day of the Disneyland

The amusement park opened on 17th of July 1955 and was watched by 90 million of citizens, out of a total of 169 million.

Even if the day went by with quite a few issues, by September the millionth visitor had stepped into the alleys of the park. Nowadays there are 12 parks worldwide, however, the only one that bears the signature of his big creator remains the one in Anaheim.

Walt Disney

While presenting himself as extremely sociable and friendly to the audience, Walt Disney was quite the demanding and irritable boss when it came to his employees.

However, he was both open to the others' ideas, which totally paid off when improving the park, and a supporter of Jewish people, even though at some point individuals took him for an anti-Semite.