Today most of us know jigsaw puzzles as playful items that possess a unique artistic beauty but what is their origin and how did they become something that people of all ages have loved throughout centuries?

Who Invented The Jigsaw Puzzle and Why

Games that are good for the brain have been around for thousand of years but it was only in the 1760’s that John Spilsbury, a british mapmaker in Berkshire, invented the first commercial jigsaw puzzles. He created what he called ‘dissected maps’ by cutting wooden maps of the world into pieces and sold these to schools as a teaching tools. Teachers then used the cut up maps as a way to teach students geography by asking them to put the map together again. 


Who invented the jigsaw puzzle


How Did Jigsaw Puzzles Get Their Name

Over time, the use of the ‘dissected maps’ expanded into other teachable subjects and slowly more playful and aesthetic uses also became common. As the use expanded, so did the name slowly start changing. In the first expansion of use, 'dissected maps' became known as 'dissected puzzles'.

It was only in the late 19th century that the term jigsaw puzzle was coined when the jigsaw was invented. Although a jigsaw has never been used to cut actual puzzles, the name jigsaw puzzle stuck and is now the name that most of us know today's playful puzzles by! 


Jigsaw Puzzles and The Future

It’s not only the name that has changed for the jigsaw puzzles during its long life but so has the use. For instance, did you know that the way we enjoy puzzles now, with beautifully printed boxes and posters, would have been considered cheating back in the day? That's because jigsaw puzzles were earlier only enjoyed as a guessing game, guessing both motif and piece position without the help of any visual aids.


Having been around for such a long time, we can be certain that jigsaw puzzles will keep carrying with them the beauty of old times and the ability to adapt with the times. What do you think is next for them? ✨

Leave a comment