Jigsaws began as dissected maps - Deepstash
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 1800s.
  • Over the 19th century, the hand-coloured maps became printed images of monarchs and biblical illustrations.

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  • 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.

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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.

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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.

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