It seems that the first jigsaw puzzle was made by an engraver named John Spilsbury, around 1760, who attached one of his maps to a board. Then, he used a marquetry saw to cut along the country borders. The result was an educational toy for children to assemble and learn geography. They were certainly very simple, but gave birth to some of the most challenging jigsaw puzzles of today.
In 1880, they were constructed by using a treadle saw to do the cutting out, and eventually the more modern ‘jig’ saw was used. The name stuck and even though today they are stamped out with a giant cookie cutter process where a thin sharp band of metal is used as a die.
By the 1900′s, both wooden and cardboard puzzles were being made, and although still used for education, there were other images emblazoned on them making them both beautiful and challenging. During the Great Depression they were one of the most popular pastimes because they could either be group activity or an endeavor that only one person worked at. Puzzle solving has always provided a means of relieving stress, and those days were definitely a time for that kind of relief.
Jigsaw Puzzles range in complexity from simple pre-school cut outs with only a small number of pieces to assemble, on up to large units that may have thousands of pieces to attempt to put into their proper place. The more pieces, the more difficult to solve.
Other issues that make for really challenging interests are solid colors, like the Beatles White Album. Abstract art, hodge-podge trinkets in a drawer, stamp or coin collections scattered about on a table or desktop, black and white backgrounds like in black and white photos, wide solid borders that eventually work into a cartoon type of simple drawing, and of course, round jigsaw puzzles.
It is always a good time to work on a puzzle be it rain or shine, cold weather or hot, and especially during a dark stormy night. Puzzles can help chase away the blues, and bring happiness of completing a task. As you get better at working them you will want more and more challenging jigsaw puzzles to add to your collection.