Jigsaw Puzzles: An Abridged History

Jigsaw Puzzles: An Abridged History

Surely there is much to know about how jigsaw puzzles came to be! Below we've gathered some history for those curious to know more about the origin of this pastime.

Excerpt from “Delighting in being a ‘Dissectologist’” by Shelley Luedke:

More than 250 years ago, European mapmakers pasted maps onto wood and cut them into small pieces that could be pieced back together. As a result, jigsaw puzzles were born. Two and a half centuries later, these “dissected maps” have become educational and entertainment tools for some, and a bit of a passion for others… Dissectologists, the name given to those who enjoy what were originally dissected maps, experience benefits from assembling puzzles. Dopamine, which affects memory, concentration, motivation and stress levels, is released each time someone successfully puts pieces in place. Many offices have jigsaw and other puzzle games in their breakrooms because after working on these for a few minutes, employees come back feeling more refreshed... 
When puzzles were first produced for adults, they often came with no picture or title on the box so the assembler had the challenge of working without a guide. Today, puzzle aficionados have a huge range of complexities to provide similar challenges.”

We know of a few dissectologists who go to an extreme and assemble our puzzles upside down!


Excerpt from puzzlewarehouse.com:

The origins of jigsaw puzzles date back to the 1760s when European mapmakers pasted maps onto wood and cut them into small pieces. John Spilsbury, an engraver and mapmaker, is credited with inventing the first jigsaw puzzle in 1767. The dissected map has been a successful educational toy ever since. American children still learn geography by playing with puzzle maps of the United States or the world. The eighteenth century inventors of jigsaw puzzles would be amazed to see the transformations of the last 250 years.

Portrait of a Family Puzzle Back

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