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The History of Jigsaw Puzzles

July 7, 2022

Jigsaw puzzles have been around for centuries, but their popularity has risen, faded, and risen again over the last few decades. Puzzles have remained a popular pastime for people of all ages. Keep reading to learn more about the history of jigsaw puzzles.

The history of jigsaw puzzles starts in the 1800s.

Jigsaw puzzles became popular in the early 1800s after being created by John Spilsbury. The first jigsaw puzzle was intended to be used as a teaching tool for geography. He started by mounting a map on a wooden board and then cutting the borders around each country. While Spilsbury is credited with inventing the jigsaw puzzle, there are earlier references to similar objects. Jigsaw puzzles were marketed to the public in the early 1800s and became a staple in many households. The popularity of jigsaw puzzles grew in the early 1900s. Puzzles were used as a form of therapy to help patients with mental illness. They were also used to help children with learning disabilities.

In the 1930s, the popularity of jigsaw puzzles exploded, leading companies to produce puzzles made from different materials, such as cardboard, plastic, and metal. The first jigsaw puzzle contest was held in 1933. While the popularity of jigsaw puzzles began to decline in the late 1970s, the game stayed popular among adults. Later in the 2000s, the popularity of jigsaw puzzles began to increase again.

Puzzles have been known to rise in popularity during recessions and depressions. People spent more time in their households during these times, so puzzles were appealing ways to pass the time inside quietly. The first significant puzzle craze occurred during the Panic of 1907. This was a time of economic distress, so many families chose to cut back on their spending and calm themselves down. Puzzles were both calming and inexpensive, so they became more common. After the first jigsaw puzzle mobile app launched in 2009, these games were more popular than ever, as people were now able to play on their mobile devices. Puzzles are notoriously difficult to move, so this made the game much more convenient.

Jigsaw puzzles are still popular today.


Today, customers can find puzzles being sold in toy stores, bookstores, and online. Puzzles also began to range in difficulty, which was ideal for adults who wanted a bigger challenge. The fewer pieces in the box, the easier the puzzle was. Some puzzles even range between 5,000 to 10,000 pieces. Jigsaw puzzles are still used in classrooms across the country, where they were first intended to be used. They are also often given to students as rewards or incentives for good behavior or academic achievement. Jigsaw puzzles can also help students improve their problem-solving skills and teamwork abilities, too. Playing with a friend is a great way to build collaboration skills, social skills, and a set of other key skills.

Puzzles have also evolved in recent years. Consumers can now solve three-dimensional puzzles to add more complexity. Some puzzles come in huge sizes for a backyard game with family and friends. You may also come across puzzle boxes with tiny pieces or specific shapes. Classroom puzzles can come in letters and numbers to help inspire children to learn, or they can depict informative facts and figures. An increase in popularity is also attributed to its brain benefits. Completing a jigsaw puzzle is a tactile pastime that helps the brain relieve tension and stimulate the receptors in your brain.

If you’re looking for a game to pass the time, jigsaw puzzles are the way to go. Not only are they beneficial for the brain, but they are a historical way for people to find comfort in their life.

About the author

Jamie Moses

Jamie Moses founded Artvoice in 1990

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