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Jigsaw Puzzle

Everybody knows jigsaw puzzles, but how much do you know about this extremely popular game?


History of the Jigsaw Puzzle

Ever wonder why they are called jigsaw puzzle? The term refers to the first such puzzle ever created, in 1760, by an English engraver and cartographer named John Spilsbury. Legend has it he made a puzzle by cutting a drawing, most probably a map set on a hardwood board with a small saw. At the time, children were taught geography by cutting up maps along the border lines and having the pupils put the continent back together. Even today such puzzles remain a very useful educational game, and it can also be played online.

The cardboard jigsaw puzzles only appeared in the late 1800s.


How to Solve Jigsaw Puzzles

People have devised many methods to tackle a jigsaw puzzle. Many try to separate the pieces depending on their color and by looking at the picture they can get a rough idea where they should go. Another popular method is to start with the margins, separating all the pieces with a straight part which must be part of the frame. Finding the four corners also helps as you can use them to put together the edges. Some puzzles have even the edge pieces cut out in irregular shapes to make it harder to put together the margins.

The most difficult to solve are the so-called Japanese style puzzle, in which the pieces are very similar in shape.


Jigsaw Puzzle Variants

Puzzles for children have larger pieces and vibrant colors to make them easier to solve. A typical puzzles aimed at adults has 1000 pieces, and they can be extremely difficult is large parts of the reference image are of the same color – depicting the sea or a forest for instance. Jigsaw puzzle aficionados can test their skills on sets with up to 32,000 or 40,000 pieces.

Globe puzzles are a relatively modern invention and some are made of steel and the pieces are magnetic so they stick to the sphere.

If you think you’re good at Jigsaw Puzzles you should try the ultimate challenge, Ravensburger’s Krypt puzzle, which is does not have any image. All 736 pieces in a set are of the same color black, silver, or gold and the manufacturer promises all the pieces have a unique shape.