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The Joys of Making and Collecting Jigsaw Puzzles

Updated on November 1, 2016

In 1750 the Wonderful world of Jigsaw Puzzles first Started

The wonderful world of jigsaw puzzles first started many years ago around the year 1750 and were called tilling puzzles. These puzzles like their predecessors would require the assembly of many often oddly and unusually shaped pieces of interlocking parts. It was a very popular and enjoyable hobby and soon around the year 1760 was produced for the mass market of the day. The oddly shape and tessellating pieces helped stimulate the brain of the puzzle builder and was a fun activity for families. With each piece being a small part of the picture it was a feat of accomplishment when complete, the many small pieces of the jigsaw puzzle could produces a complete and very elaborate picture.

In the early days the jigsaw puzzles were first created by painting a picture on a smooth and very flat piece of rectangular wood. After the picture was completed to perfection it was then cut into small unusual shaped pieces with a detailed and will made jigsaw. It was a remarkable man named John Spilsbury of London that made the first jigsaw puzzle for sell on the open market. Mr. Spilsbury was a remarkable engraver and his jigsaw puzzles for the 1760s are very valuable and hard to find now.

"White Crimson Morning" Kim Norlien Panoramic Jigsaw Puzzle

This beautiful Master Pieces "White Crimson Morning"  has 1,000 pieces,  and was completed by Grantley Waters, and me in the Fall of 2015 it is over three feet wide ...
This beautiful Master Pieces "White Crimson Morning" has 1,000 pieces, and was completed by Grantley Waters, and me in the Fall of 2015 it is over three feet wide ...

In the1800s the Jigsaw Puzzle Hobby took off like a Wild Fire

After Mr. Spilsbury produced the first commercialized, and mass produced jigsaw puzzle around the year 1760 the hobby took off like a wild fire. This move very rapidly in the world of Jigsaw puzzles, around the 1860s they started to be made primarily of cardboard. In the 1920s may more advanced types of jigsaw puzzles stated to appear on the market, such as spherical jigsaws in the year 1926. and then remarkable puzzles in the 1930 showing amazing optical illusions hit the market. In the 1940s many typical images started to be found on jigsaw puzzles thanks to color photography. This includes many detailed scenes from the world of nature, and in the new city landscapes and building. Many jigsaw puzzles became popular wall art and in the 1950s there were many puzzles made of beautiful repetitive designs during this era.

"White Crimson Morning" Panoramic Jigsaw Puzzle, Kim Norlien

In the 1950s Castles and Beautiful Landscapes great Puzzles

In the 1950s the two most popular types of Jigsaw puzzles were of Castles and beautiful landscapes such as mountains and Islands. It was also during this decade that almost any kind of picture was made into jigsaw puzzles, from poodles to circus clowns. Also in the 1950s many companies and corporations started to offer puzzles as company gifts. Howard Johnson, and Holiday Inn has jigsaw puzzles made of the their finest motels, and hotels for guest in their gift shops, and the major Airlines also had ones made of their planes as gift to investors, and ticket buyers at travel agents. Not to be out done, the ocean liners also got into the act, and now a 1950s jigsaw puzzle of the SS United States is worth a great deal of money on the market.

Big Ben Jigsaw Puzzle of Mt Shuksan in the State of Washington

Big Ben Jigsaw Puzzle of Mt Shuksan in the state of Washington #4962-6. Made in the USA. Ages 12- Adult. Size: 26" x 20" 1000 piece interlocking beauty ...
Big Ben Jigsaw Puzzle of Mt Shuksan in the state of Washington #4962-6. Made in the USA. Ages 12- Adult. Size: 26" x 20" 1000 piece interlocking beauty ...

A Puzzle of one of the most Picturesque and Beautiful Mountains

In the photo above and the video below is the amazing Big Ben Jigsaw Puzzle of Mt Shuksan in the state of Washington. It has the Big Ben ID number of #4962-6. The great puzzle was made in the USA, and was for children from the ages of 12-to adult. This jigsaw puzzle is a large size: 26"inches x 20" inches and is made of1000 piece of interlocking beauty ... This is a puzzle of one of the most picturesque and beautiful mountains in the Cascade Range which is located in the North Cascade National Park located just south of the Canadian border. In the puzzle is shown the awesome sky, the non-volcanic Mt Shuksan and it's well-loved chaotic hanging glaciers that co-exist with snow that blankets the slopes leading to the summit pyramid, some reflection in Picture Lake and flowers and evergreens that blanket the foreground and it is these pieces that were a challenge and surprise for us builders. When finished, you can gaze at this spectacular scene of Mount Shuksan that has become the iconic face of the rugged North Cascades of Washington and dream of traveling there to see for yourself.

Big Ben Jigsaw Puzzle of Mt Shuksan in the state of Washington

The making of Today the modern Jigsaw Puzzles is Amazing

Today the modern jigsaw puzzles are made out of thick good stock paperboard because it is much easier and less expensive to mass-produce than the more time consuming and expensive wooden puzzles. An enlarged or printed is made from a photograph. Generally it is a detailed reproduction of a beautiful landscape or a masterpiece painting or other two-dimensional art form. This detailed print is then glued onto the cardboard backing before cutting. The finished art board is then fed into what we would call the jigsaw press; this is where the press will force a set of razor sharp hardened steel blades onto the print board. This press will press the many desired shapes through the board until it is fully cut.

Building Jigsaw Puzzles is a fun & Relaxing fun for an Evening

Building Jigsaw Puzzles is a fun and relaxing way to spend an evening or a rainy day. It simulates your brain and gives you a feeling of accomplishment.
Building Jigsaw Puzzles is a fun and relaxing way to spend an evening or a rainy day. It simulates your brain and gives you a feeling of accomplishment.

It takes 700 tons of force to make a 1000-piece Jigsaw Puzzle

So as you can see making Jigsaw Puzzles is a procedure that is very similar to making Christmas shaped cookies with a very well made cookie cutter. The big difference is that the forces involved, with "Jigsaw Puzzles" is much more involved because the pressure required is tremendously great. For example in a typical 1000-piece jigsaw puzzle the pressure to cut out the pieces for the puzzle requires a massive press that can generate upwards and above 700 tons of force to push the many sharp and detailed blades of the jigsaw puzzle die through the hard cardboard. The jigsaw puzzle die is made of a very smooth and flat board, often made from reinforced plywood, this plywood has slots cut into it or even burned into the exact same shape as the blades that are to be used in the m making of the puzzle. These blades are set into the precision slots and covered in a soft and very compressible material, usually foam rubber, which helps to eject the cut puzzle pieces.

Grantley Waters and me with the Lovely White Crimson Morning

Making Jigsaw Puzzles is a great time to spend with your family, you feel a since of accomplishment with you have finished your puzzle and have a family treasure to hang on the wall.
Making Jigsaw Puzzles is a great time to spend with your family, you feel a since of accomplishment with you have finished your puzzle and have a family treasure to hang on the wall.

The Five Different Size groups of Jigsaw Puzzles & their Levels

Jigsaw puzzles for the average buyer generally come in five different size groups. There is the 300 piece jigsaw puzzle for beginners, the 500piece jigsaw puzzle for teenagers, the more advanced 750 piece puzzle, the expert or family size 1,000 piece jigsaw puzzles, and then there is the renaissance or deluxe 1.500 piece puzzle for the more advanced jigsaw puzzle maker.

Grantley Making Jigsaw Puzzles over the Holiday Break

The Big Question, Where to start when Building a Jigsaw Puzzle

Most modern jigsaw puzzles we have today are made to be rectangular, there are a few that are made perfectly square, then in the 1920s and the 1970s a lot of round or what we call “hippy puzzles” were made, and some of these round ones are still being made today. With rectangular jigsaw puzzles edge pieces that have one side that is either straight it is easy to start the framing of your outer walls of the puzzle, and the same goes for round puzzles just look for the smoothly curved to create this shape, plus you can start with the four corner pieces if the puzzle is square or rectangular. Once you have the outer walls done it is time to move into the more complicated pieces of the puzzle.

Jigsaw Puzzles help your Thinking, and are very Relaxing.

Jigsaw puzzles help your thinking  process, and problem solving abilities, and is a very relaxing hobby the whole family can participate in and have a bonding experience.
Jigsaw puzzles help your thinking process, and problem solving abilities, and is a very relaxing hobby the whole family can participate in and have a bonding experience.

The Great Depression began the Golden Age of Jigsaw Puzzles

It was the beginning of the Great Depression in 1929 that the golden age of jigsaw puzzles began in full swing. With so many folks out of work and broke the jigsaw puzzle was a wonderful way to forget your bad lot in life for a few hours, since you had all the time in the world without a jog. The jigsaw puzzles companies enjoyed a resurgence sells during this bleak time. The jigsaw puzzle popularity peaking in early 1934 when jigsaw puzzle sales reached an unbelievable ten million puzzles a week.

Jigsaw Puzzles are Great Fun when you Need a cheap Vacation

Jigsaw Puzzles are great fun when you need a vacation but are broke because you can see the world from the comfort of you dining room or kitchen table when you are working on these remarkable creations
Jigsaw Puzzles are great fun when you need a vacation but are broke because you can see the world from the comfort of you dining room or kitchen table when you are working on these remarkable creations

The Jigsaw Puzzles touch the real Heart of the Nation in 1929

The jigsaw puzzles seemed to touch a chord in the heart of the nation and the free world during the Great Depression, jigsaw puzzles would offering an escape from the troubling times of failed banks and long lines of the unemployed. It also offered help in ones self-esteem, because it offered an opportunity to succeed in the modest way of completing a complex puzzle. When one completes a jigsaw puzzle it gives maker or puzzler a remarkable sense of personal accomplishment that was extremely hard to come by in the 1930s with the unemployment rate were well above 25 percent in many regions of the world.

Charles Wysocki "Sugar Spigot" Primitive Folk Art Jigsaw Puzzle

Here is an amazing finished piece of jigsaw puzzle art by Charles Wysocki. It is a awesome primitive folk art piece that is both Americana and Christmas all together in one fantastic scene.
Here is an amazing finished piece of jigsaw puzzle art by Charles Wysocki. It is a awesome primitive folk art piece that is both Americana and Christmas all together in one fantastic scene.

Grantley Waters & his Primitive Folk Puzzle by Charles Wysocki

Grantley Waters and his finished and framed primitive folk art puzzle by Charles Wysocki, the Sugar Spigot, from our maples to your tables ... he made the frame himself from wood in the barn, hand sanded and stained, 1000 Piece ...
Grantley Waters and his finished and framed primitive folk art puzzle by Charles Wysocki, the Sugar Spigot, from our maples to your tables ... he made the frame himself from wood in the barn, hand sanded and stained, 1000 Piece ...

A Person Felt like a Millionaire when they Finish a Jigsaw Puzzle

The remarkable think about jigsaw puzzles is they are not expensive and even with your incomes depleted you can feel like a millionaire when you finish one of these beauties. The jigsaw puzzle was the new home entertainment and source of amusement, and soon replaced expensive outside entertainment like nice restaurants and high end pricey night clubs. During the Depression the jigsaw puzzles became much more affordable too buy. In the 1930s the demand for puzzles was so high that public libraries added them for circulation. Many small craft and card shops began to make their own jigsaw puzzles for sell at low prices to keep their skilled workers employed.

Great Libraries have areas for Patrons to work on Jigsaw Puzzles

Many Libraries have areas for Patrons to work on Jigsaw Puzzles

Many great Libraries now have areas for Patrons to work on Jigsaw Puzzles and it is so good that the younger generation today are appreciating jigsaw puzzles. I was so amazed when my son wanted to work on the puzzles over the holidays instead of playing Xbox or PlayStation games. We had a wonderful time together on New Year’s Eve, we stayed up until two in the morning working on a 1000 piece puzzle, and we didn't even realize how late it was. They are even now putting these puzzles out in many University Libraries to help students stress levels, and they are really being used, and loved by the patrons. They really help folks to unwind and they stimulate the mind.

Libraries now have areas for Patrons to work on Jigsaw Puzzles

They are even now putting these puzzles out in many University Libraries to help students stress levels, and they are really being used, and loved by the patrons. They really help folks to unwind and they stimulate the mind.
They are even now putting these puzzles out in many University Libraries to help students stress levels, and they are really being used, and loved by the patrons. They really help folks to unwind and they stimulate the mind.

A Lovely Finished Masterpiece, a Renaissance 1500 Piece Puzzle

Jigsaw Puzzles are a fun Project to do to Beat the Summer Heat

Grantley Waters and his English Spring jigsaw puzzle, this is a fun thing to do to beat the summer time heat wave .
Grantley Waters and his English Spring jigsaw puzzle, this is a fun thing to do to beat the summer time heat wave .

Here is Grantley Waters finished James Hautmar Jigsaw Puzzle

Grantley Waters  finished  James Hautmar jigsaw puzzle, this is a fun thing to do to beat the summer time heat wave
Grantley Waters finished James Hautmar jigsaw puzzle, this is a fun thing to do to beat the summer time heat wave

Grantley Waters finished up his Norman Rockwell Jigsaw Puzzle

Grantley Waters finished up his Norman Rockwell jigsaw puzzle, this is a fun thing to do to beat the summer time heat wave
Grantley Waters finished up his Norman Rockwell jigsaw puzzle, this is a fun thing to do to beat the summer time heat wave

Summer Time Jigsaw Puzzles, or How to Stay cool in the Heat

Ravensburger Jigsaw puzzle of Neuschanstein Castle, Germany

Beautiful framed 24 inches by 30 inches Ravensburger Jigsaw puzzle of Neuschanstein Castle in Germany
Beautiful framed 24 inches by 30 inches Ravensburger Jigsaw puzzle of Neuschanstein Castle in Germany

Grantley and his Finished and Framed, Ravensburger Jigsaw puzzle of Neuschanstein Castle in Germany

Grantley's Ravensburger Puzzle, is Very Well Made and Beautiful

When you live far away from television stations, and have not phone service, you can have a great deal of fun making jigsaw puzzles,  the peace of mind they bring is amazing for folks ...
When you live far away from television stations, and have not phone service, you can have a great deal of fun making jigsaw puzzles, the peace of mind they bring is amazing for folks ...

Rooster Quilt Puzzle, 300 Large Pieces, Size is 18 x 24 Inches

 Jigsaw puzzles for the average buyer generally come in five different size groups. There is the 300 piece jigsaw puzzle for beginners, the 500 piece jigsaw puzzle for teenagers, the more advanced 750 piece puzzle, the family size 1,000 pieces ...
Jigsaw puzzles for the average buyer generally come in five different size groups. There is the 300 piece jigsaw puzzle for beginners, the 500 piece jigsaw puzzle for teenagers, the more advanced 750 piece puzzle, the family size 1,000 pieces ...

The Beautiful Rooster Quilt Puzzle is Completed, 300 Pieces :)

London England is where the Jigsaw Puzzle was Invented in 1750

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    • Glenn Waters profile image
      Author

      Glenn Waters 17 months ago

      Thank you Blond Logic, I also was very happy to see college students and Library patrons working, sometimes in groups on very complex jigsaw puzzles. It was nice to see students put down there hand held devices, and actually work with someone else who might have been a complete stranger, and communicate, and even become friends over a jigsaw puzzle. I been to seven University Library that now have jigsaw puzzle tables with a masterpiece waiting to be finished, and they are being completed by people who before that started working on them were complete strangers. It is a joy to see folks communicating again, and not just with their cell phone or device.

    • Glenn Waters profile image
      Author

      Glenn Waters 17 months ago

      Thank you Phyllis for your comment, I have found out lately that there are a lot of folks that really enjoy jigsaw puzzles, and in today world they make great stress relievers. I did not get into them until my sister died and my son and I found her collection of jigsaw puzzles in her attic at her old farm home. We had such a great time working on them, and it really helps build bonds, and even heal sadness such as the loss of a loved one. :)

    • Phyllis Doyle profile image

      Phyllis Doyle Burns 17 months ago from High desert of Nevada.

      You have a lot of good information and history on the jigsaw puzzle. I really enjoyed reading it. I love to work on jigsaw puzzles. Thanks for a very informative and interesting hub.

    • Blond Logic profile image

      Mary Wickison 17 months ago from Brazil

      How interesting. I have never seen a rectangular puzzle before. I think having them in libraries is a fantastic idea. In an age where everything is electronic, it is good to seen that they are still popular. It has been a long time since I have had a jigsaw puzzle, maybe I need to rectify that.

      A fascinating hub. I'll share.

    • H Darnell profile image

      Heather Darnell 18 months ago from Quad Cities

      This was a very interesting article. I grew up doing puzzles and my children now love them. I love the facts about puzzles, great article!