The History of Jigsaw Puzzles
Jigsaw puzzles have become a popular pastime for people of all ages. From simple children’s puzzles to complex adult ones, the entertainment value is undeniable. But how did they come about? Let’s explore the history of jigsaw puzzles and their evolution over time.
The Early Days of Puzzles
The origins of jigsaw puzzles date back to the 18th century. Maps were mounted on wood and cut into pieces, which were then used to teach geography to children. It wasn’t until the early 19th century that puzzles as we know them today started to emerge.
London engraver and mapmaker John Spilsbury is credited with creating the first commercial puzzle in 1766. He mounted a map on a piece of hardwood and then cut out the countries, which were used to teach geography. Eventually, puzzles shifted from maps to images, and manufacturers began creating puzzles of famous paintings and scenes.
The Rise of Jigsaw Puzzles in America
During the Great Depression, jigsaw puzzles became even more popular, as they provided a cheap form of entertainment. Companies like Milton Bradley and Parker Brothers began manufacturing puzzles on a large scale, with designs ranging from nature scenes to movie stars.
In the mid-20th century, puzzles declined in popularity as television became the primary form of entertainment. But in recent years, they have made a comeback, with specialty puzzle stores popping up and unique designs becoming more popular.
The Evolution of Jigsaw Puzzle Technology
As technology has advanced, so too have jigsaw puzzles. Laser cutting has made it possible to create intricate designs with more pieces than ever before. 3D puzzles have become increasingly popular, allowing people to build structures and objects as well as images.
Online puzzle platforms have also emerged, allowing people to enjoy puzzles on their computer or mobile device. Websites like Jigsaw Planet offer thousands of free puzzles to choose from, with varying levels of difficulty.
From their humble beginnings as geography lessons to their current status as a popular pastime, jigsaw puzzles have come a long way. Their evolution has been marked by changing technology, shifting trends, and a desire for entertainment. Whether you prefer traditional images or 3D designs, puzzles offer a fun and challenging activity for people of all ages.