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Fascinating facts about the invention
of the
Jigsaw Puzzle by John Spilsbury in 1767.
JIGSAW PUZZLE
"For the purpose of teaching geography," John Spilsbury, a teacher in England, created the first jigsaw puzzle in the year 1767. Adhering his maps to flat hardwood, he used a fine saw to cut along the borders of the European countries, and the jigsaw puzzle was born. Hand-painted and made of wood, the puzzle was a map of England and Wales, with each county making up a separate piece.
Soon, people began making pictorial jigsaw puzzles. Their purpose was to entertain rather than to teach. The pieces in these early puzzles were not interlocking. Not until the invention of power tools more than a century later did jigsaw puzzles with fully interlocking pieces come into being.

In 1880, Milton Bradley made the first jigsaw puzzle for children "The Smashed Up Locomotive." By printing a lithograph of a steam engine locomotive and cutting it into pieces, the "smashed up" effect was achieved when a child opened the box and saw the locomotive all in pieces. Because of his Puritan upbringing, Bradley's nature was to seek order. Therefore, the object of the "The Smashed Up Locomotive" was to make the locomotive whole once again.

TO LEARN MORE

RELATED INFORMATION:
History of Toys and Games   from The Great Idea Finder

ON THE BOOKSHELF:
The Kid Who Invented the Popsicle: And Other Surprising Stories About Inventions
by Don L. Wulffson / Paperback - 128 pages
(1999) / Puffin
Brief factual stories about how various familiar things were invented, many by accident, from animal crackers to the zipper.
The Jigsaw Puzzle: Piecing Together a History
by Anne D. Williams, Will Shortz / Hardcover: 250 pages / Berkley Hardcover (October 30, 2004)
Assembled by renowned puzzle expert Anne D. Williams, The Jigsaw Puzzle pieces together the origins of the beloved pastime that has enthralled people worldwide for centuries.
Dr. Seuss Jigsaw Puzzle Book: With Six 48-Piece Puzzles
by Dr. Suess / Hardcover: 12 pages / Random House Books for Young Readers (September 1, 2004)
A collection of six 48-piece (that is, slightly challenging), sturdy, jigsaw puzzles featuring artwork and text from the beloved Seuss classics Green Eggs and Ham, The Cat in the Hat, How the Grinch Stole Christmas!, Horton Hears a Who!, Yertle the Turtle, and The Lorax.

The M.C. Escher Jigsaw Puzzle Book
by M. C. Escher / Hardcover / Harry N Abrams (October 1996)

This clever, compact book lets readers explore eight of his famous drawings in two-sided jigsaw puzzles. Their brilliant patterns will intrigue and entertain and, after the fun, the puzzles can be pressed back in the book for safe storage.

ON THE WEB:
History of Jigsaw Puzzles
It is generally agreed that the first jigsaw puzzle was produced around 1760 by John Spilsbury, a London engraver and mapmaker. From the American Jigsaw Puzzle Society.
(URL: www.jigsaw-puzzle.org/jigsaw-puzzle-history.html)
Jigsaw Puzzles: Early History
As to which country was first - the evidence is somewhat clouded.
(URL: www.ahs.uwaterloo.ca/~museum/puzzles/jigsaw/jigsaw2.html)
The National Toy Hall of Fame Awards
John Spilsbury inducted in 2002 for his invention of the Jigsaw Puzzle.
(URL:
www.acgilbert.org/induct.htm)
Notable Firsts from Mr. Milton Bradley
In 1880, Milton Bradley made the first jigsaw puzzle for children "The Smashed Up Locomotive." Today, the company is the number one maker of games and puzzles in the world.
(URL: www.hasbro.com/pl/page.corporate_history_mb_firsts/dn/default.cfm)
Jean's Puzzles
A puzzle collectors page with lots of links.
(URL: www.enter.net/~husselman/jean.html)
The Puzzle Museum
Puzzle Collection started in 1886. Website started in 1996.
(URL: www.puzzlemuseum.com/index.htm)
Jigsaw Jungle

For "Jigsaw Puzzle Lovers" of all ages, jigsaw puzzles and brain teasers for you to enjoy.
(URL: www.jigsawjungle.com/)
Association of Game and Puzzle Collector
The Association of Game and Puzzle Collector is dedicated to the collecting and preservation of old games, and to research on the history of American games.

(URL: www.agca.com/)
More History of Puzzels
Based on the Anne D. Williams books.
(URL: www.oldpuzzles.com/history.htm)

Jigsaw Puzzle History (Page removed from site.)
Puzzle proliferation peaked during the Depression, to the tune of 100 million sold in seven months.
(URL: www.buffalogames.com/HTML%20pages/Jigsaw-hist.html)

Reference Sources in BOLD Type This page revised February, 2005.
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