The First Jigsaw Puzzles Were Made Out of Wood

You're in luck if you've ever wondered where the wooden jigsaw puzzle came from. The earliest wooden jigsaws and their production process, as well as the future of the puzzle industry, are only two of the fascinating topics covered in this book.

Ancient Puzzles

Ancient wooden jigsaw puzzles were used to educate both young and old about the world's regions. They were also much enjoyed as a leisure activity. After WWII, however, demand for wooden jigsaws plummeted.

Cedar and mahogany were the woods of choice for the earliest jigsaws. They came with a miniature map of the world and were packaged in a red box. Additionally, each piece has a cut edge. In this way, assembly was simplified.

More intricate and vibrant puzzles were produced as time went on. Sales increased dramatically during the Great Depression. The riddles quickly became popular with advertisers. They were able to advertise their wares at a low cost. A daily puzzle might be purchased at a pharmacy for three to ten cents.

John Spilsbury created the first jigsaws for sale in 1760. He lectured on the English language. Ch. Smith, his engraver, created the complex maps used in the puzzles.

Jacob Shaffer was another jigsaw maker. They were up against other major producers in the market. They used a marquetry saw to chop up a map and put it on the wood, as opposed to painting an image on a flat piece of wood.

Imaginative Forms

Wooden jigsaw puzzles have been around for centuries, but much of that time has been spent on the development of whimsical designs. Cut from a variety of materials and designed to seem like anything from cartoon characters to real animals, "whimsy shapes" are the perfect addition to any party. These pieces often correspond to a picture on the puzzle and take the form of geometric figures.

Intricate forms were first added to hand-cut wooden puzzles in the nineteenth century. In due time, tredle jigsaws were created, which made it possible to cut intricate patterns.

The "dissected map" problem created by John Spilsbury is considered to be one of the oldest jigsaw puzzles. A map of England, placed on lightweight wood. It debuted to the world in 1762. It was advertised as a puzzle that would help kids learn about the world.

Wooden puzzles rose to prominence in the late 1800s, both as a pastime and an investment in one's social standing. Puzzles were even swapped or borrowed by a few. They might also be bought if desired.

In the Midst of the Great Despair

Due to the widespread loss of employment during the Great Depression, jigsaw puzzles were a popular pastime for many Americans. In 1908, you could pay $5 for a puzzle with 500 pieces. In the 1930s, a puzzle with 300 pieces cost only 25 cents.

If a family during the Great Depression did not have the money to buy a jigsaw puzzle, they may obtain a pirated copy or borrow one from the library. Puzzles, like shampoo and toothbrushes, were provided free of charge by libraries. After losing their jobs, some artisans turned to cutting jigsaw puzzles in their spare time.

Wooden jigsaw puzzles were the norm in the late 1800s. These were at first made using hand-cutting techniques. However, die-cutting methods allowed for more efficiency in the process later on.

In the early 20th century, cardboard replaced wooden packaging. As a result, they were able to cut back on expenses and speed up production, resulting in more puzzles for less money. They were also more visually appealing.

The cost of a wooden jigsaw puzzle eventually reduced to a tenth of what it had been. Jigsaw puzzles become very popular.

Following WWII

Wood was a common choice for puzzles before the war since it was inexpensive and long-lasting. But after the war, demand for wooden jigsaws began to dwindle. Cardboard was substituted for wood in production. Cardboard puzzles were simple to manufacture in large quantities and didn't cost much to build.

During the Great Depression, puzzles enjoyed unprecedented popularity in the United States. Due to the high rate of unemployment, many individuals looked to inexpensive forms of home entertainment to help pass the time. Rental prices for puzzles at pharmacies ranged from 3 cents to 10 cents per day, depending on the difficulty of the challenge.

The Springbok Company was a pioneer in the puzzle market. The firm created authentic looking copies of famous paintings. They were also experts in making bespoke puzzles. Royalty and business magnates were among their clientele.

During the Great Depression, the idea for Par Puzzles was conceived. The company's specialty was producing puzzles with unique shapes. It targeted celebrities and the rich in its advertising. Stores like Sears and Department 56 carried the company's "Victory" puzzles in the 1950s.


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