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Jigsaw Puzzles

Jigsaw puzzles are a great way to spend time with your friends and family or on your own. It does not matter if you are working on simple large piece puzzles or if you are taking on a 3,000 piece monster, solving puzzles is a fulfilling and fun hobby.

Below is a terrific introductory article where you can learn the basics and how to get started. You can help grow our learning community by contributing your knowledge to the article. Just click on the edit tab in the wiki article below.

Use the white subtabs above to navigate the other puzzles resources. We have a puzzles forum where you can get your questions & doubts answered, a page with puzzles how-to videos, a page with the best handpicked links to other sites, and a page with the best puzzles books and products.

Good Luck and Have Fun!
Duncan Davis

 

Introduction


A jigsaw puzzle is a puzzle that requires the assembly of numerous small, oddly shaped, interlocking pieces.




History


The first jigsaw puzzle was created around 1760 by an Englishman named John Spilsbury. He used a fretsaw (hand held saw used for intricate cutting) to cut the pieces of maps from mahogany board. He boxed them and sold them for children to assemble. John Spilsbury called them the Dissected Maps. In the following years, scenes were added to the maps by those who copied John Spilsbury’s idea.




By the 1800s puzzles were made to educate wealthy children. The puzzles continued to be made of various woods and in larger pieces. Most pieces were not interlocking. By the later part of the century changes were occurring in the production of the puzzles. The wood was thinner, better saws had been invented by this point, and the pictures were more varied and colorful. In the late 1800s Ralph Tuck, a German, was instrumental in advancements in the way the puzzles were made. He developed new techniques for creating the jigsaw puzzle.




By this point, more changes were occurring not only in the manufacturing of the jigsaw puzzle but also the market to which they were sold. Adults became fascinated with the puzzles. Due to new technology by the turn of the century, the early 1900s brought about many changes in the production. Because of new machinery and new materials, production increased at a lower cost causing the jigsaw puzzles to be available to a wider population.




After World War I there was a booming demand for the jigsaw puzzle. By this time, cardboard was used for the puzzles and the cost was a fraction of the cost of the original puzzle. Now the puzzles contained as many as 1,000 pieces.




Currently, millions of jigsaw puzzles are produced and purchased every year.




Interestingly enough, jigsaw puzzles are gaining even more popularity currently. Wooden jigsaw puzzles are also growing in popularity. Online jigsaw puzzles are almost as popular as cardboard and wooden puzzles and are growing in demand. Companies are constantly striving to create more challenging and cutting edge puzzles. Many accessories are being developed to accompany the puzzles such as glues, frames, and carrying cases.




Uses for Jigsaw Puzzle


Jigsaw puzzles are great hobbies; and they are not just a hobby for children. Men and Women throughout the world today both take advantage of jigsaw puzzles and the hours of fun they can offer. Jigsaw puzzles are becoming more and more popular. Why, because they are an activity that is affordable, relaxing, a bonding activity among family and friends, and educational.




They are a challenge and a very relaxing activity. As you find the pieces and fit them together you feel a sense of satisfaction. After a stressful day or situation, there is nothing like sitting down to an enjoyable hobby; becoming lost in it and leaving the world behind.




When the puzzles are completed some individuals mount them for pictures for their wall putting them in attractive frames. There are so many varied scenes on jigsaw puzzles currently that anyone can find the right puzzle to suit their taste. There are other craft projects suitable to the use of jigsaw puzzles, such as table tops covered with glass or any other furniture for that matter. The uses for jigsaw puzzles, in terms of crafts and decorations are only limited by your imagination. Some people complete the jigsaw puzzles and either trade them or put them away for another day.




Jigsaw puzzles also serve very important educational purposes. Puzzles are commonly used in schools to teach in all areas of education. They are also used for therapeutic purposes in counseling facilities, and mental health facilities to diagnose and treat certain disorders. For example, children who are abused, as part of diagnostic tools, puzzles are used to determine the situation. Schools use them as behavior disorder treatment tools and special education tools to teach and treat the students.




Jigsaw puzzles make a wonderful and lasting gift to a friend or loved one. This type of gift gives the person you care enough to give it to hours of pleasure and enjoyment. A gift such as this can also be used to send a message to your loved one or friend. Puzzles today not only have the gift of existing text and pictures to indicate a message to that special person but you can also have a jigsaw puzzle custom created to you specifications. For example, someone you care about has a birthday approaching. You can give them a puzzle for their birthday to signify the day as a special day with a special picture or message on the puzzle you choose. Or you can also have a puzzle mounted and framed that this special person has completed and wants to keep it. Another example is grandmas birthday is coming up and you want to make it special. Order a special jigsaw puzzle with a picture of all the grandkids on it and a message, “we love you grandma”. Another gift that would brighten their day is to give them a computer program of jigsaw puzzles. When it comes to jigsaw puzzle gifts, the ideas are endless and the variations and messages you can send that person you care about are abundant.




Benefits of Jigsaw Puzzles


Jigsaw puzzles have many benefits. They are entertaining and educational, especially for children. Puzzles occupy that time when the children are out of school and have nothing to do. Puzzles are a fun way to teach children, taking the boredom out of learning. It gives them a way to vent energy in a constructive way and is the better for it.




Jigsaw puzzles can be an economical way to bring family and friends together. With costs rising at a frightening rate there is still a way to have fun together without breaking the bank. More than one person working on a puzzle can actually bring about a bonding among those individuals. Jigsaw puzzles can strengthen the family unite while giving them enjoyment and relaxation. In today’s society, when the family spends less time together, doing jigsaw puzzles together is a constructive, wholesome activity that the whole family unit can share.




Jigsaw puzzles can be psychologically beneficial as well and in turn biologically beneficial. We live in very stressful times. Those activities that help us relax can only be of benefit. When you sit down to do a jigsaw puzzle it gives you a chance to forget the world around you and get lost in the challenge and accomplishment of the puzzle you are working on. By relaxing, you are giving your body and mind a chance to rest and get caught up. It has been medically proven that stress lowers the immune system, causing us to be more susceptible to disease and illness. By finding ways to relax we are protecting our minds and bodies from the pressures and ills that surround us.




Types of Jigsaw Puzzles


There are many types of Jigsaw Puzzles. The amount of pieces to the puzzles can be in the range 100s to 1000s. They are made of materials such as wood, cardboard, plastic, and other synthetic materials. The illustrations and text on them are varied as well. Many of the puzzles are scenic or of animals. There is also education informational and pictures. Puzzles can even be ordered with a photograph such as a family or individual photo or a photo of something special that the person wants to have put in a jigsaw puzzle form. Nearly anything you can think of can be put on the face of a jigsaw puzzle.




Choosing and Purchasing a Jigsaw Puzzle


When choosing a jigsaw puzzle several things need to be considered. You must decide first, what are you likes and dislikes in terms of pictures, colors, and themes. For example, is your choice scenic or animals or maybe you prefer another theme such as military, urban, or perhaps another theme available. Do you prefer bright colors or deeper colors? Do you prefer to custom create your own puzzle? You also have to decide on the size of the puzzle you want. They can range from 100s of pieces to 1000s of pieces. You need to choose the degree of difficulty you want as well. The degree of difficulty is very important to consider, actually. Are you looking for something to keep you busy for hours or days or are you interested in an activity that only takes an hour or two. The choices are endless. Then you have to choose what material you want your puzzle to be. Most commonly the jigsaw puzzles are made of heavy duty cardboard. However, there are puzzles made of other material such a plastic, wood, and even rubber.




These choices you make when choosing a jigsaw puzzle will of course be affected by the recipient of the puzzle. For example, perhaps the puzzle is for a child. In this case you may want a brightly colored, cardboard puzzle, of perhaps a few hundred pieces. If the puzzle will be for an adult woman you might want a scenic picture on the puzzle, of a thousand pieces, made of heavy duty cardboard. If you want the puzzle for a man you may want to purchase one which has a military or hunting picture, of appropriate color and a thousand of more pieces.




Another component that affects your choice of puzzle is the purpose or intended use of the puzzle. For example, if you or the recipients of the puzzle are going to use it for a hobby you would determine the aesthetics of the jigsaw puzzle by the individual taste. The difficulty level would be determined by the age and intellectual ability of the individual the puzzle is intended for.




The cost is another important issue. Because a jigsaw puzzle is not something you can use up in one use, you will have it to use time and time again. An important aspect of purchasing a puzzle is your purpose for purchasing it. Are you intending to complete the puzzle just for recreation or do you intend to do the puzzle and then mount it and hang it on your wall? Jigsaw puzzles are a relatively reasonably priced activity, ranging from $5.00 and up. To make it even more reasonably priced you can trade friends and relatives puzzles or barrow puzzles from each other. You also have the option of buying them second hand. Some individuals even enjoy leaving them sit for a year or two and then doing them again.




However you choose to obtain your jigsaw puzzle there are many ways to accomplish this. As I said earlier, depending on your purpose for the puzzle you can trade or borrow. The puzzles may be purchased in any number of places; many different types of stores carry puzzles or you can purchase them on line or in catalogs. There are also rummage sales and second hand stores to buy them from.




Conclusion


Jigsaw puzzles are currently one of the top of the line activities. They require little knowledge to participate in, and are not an expensive activity. Jigsaw puzzles are hours of fun without breaking the bank. They make a tremendous and versatile gift. Even if you give the gift of a puzzle every year to the same person you need never repeat the gift. This is due to the fact there is such a varied selection of puzzles in appearance, type, size, and style and also because you can have them custom made to your satisfaction. They are a fitting gift for man, woman or child of every taste and preference. Jigsaw puzzles serve many purposes including education, busy work, hobby, therapy, bonding, and gift giving at an affordable price. What more could you ask for? Don’t you just have the overwhelming urge to do a jigsaw puzzle now?