A Very Brief History of Jigsaw Puzzles
Jigsaw puzzles have been around for at least the last two centuries. The earliest puzzles
were "dissected maps" that were really learning tools for children. The pieces were typically
squarish and non-interlocking. By the late eighteen hundreds, puzzles evolved to be more
of an adult pastime and the squarish pieces were replaced with irregular shaped pieces that
were "push-fitted" together. With thicker woods and plywood, knobs and interlocking puzzles
began to show up. By the 1900's, sophisticated puzzles were being made that incorporated many
of the features discussed below. In the 1930's, puzzles became commonplace entertainment and
puzzles ranged from simple inexpensive die-cut cardboard puzzles to beautifully crafted works
of art. The depression saw many talented craftsmen turn to making jigsaw puzzles. Some
companies persisted past the depression, and one company, Par Puzzles of New York, became
the puzzle maker to the rich and famous worldwide.
If you are interested in learning more about jigsaw puzzles, I recommend the site
Bob Armstrong's Old Jigsaw Puzzles and these books, some of which you'll have to hunt
for because they are out of print:
"JIGSAW PUZZLES: AN ILLUSTRATED HISTORY AND PRICE GUIDE". By Anne
D. Williams, Radnor, PA: Chilton/Wallace-Homestead, 1990
"BRITISH JIG-SAW PUZZLES OF THE 20TH CENTURY". By Tom Tyler. (published
in England in 1997).
"CUTTING A FINE FIGURE: THE ART OF THE JIGSAW PUZZLE ". By Anne D.
Williams. (Catalog for 1996 exhibition) Lexington, MA: Museum of Our National
"PIECES IN PLACE: TWO HUNDRED YEARS OF JIGSAW PUZZLES ". Catalog Packet for
1988 exhibition at Bates College Museum of Art: Available from Anne D. Williams
"THE JIGSAW BOOK". By Linda Hannas, Dail Press, NY, NY 1981.
Anne Williams can be reached at
Puzzle related sites
Wooden Jigsaw Puzzle Sites
MGC's Custom Wooden Jigsaw Puzzles
Makers of unique hand crafted wooden jigsaw puzzles for adults and children using personal enlarged photographs,
fine art prints, new or old antique maps, logos and digital images.
- Thingamajigsaw Puzzles
Andrea Farnham's one of a kind traditional and tricky hand-cut wooden jigsaw puzzles.
Conrad Armstrong's Artistic Wooden Jigsaw Puzzles
Custom Puzzle Craft -
carefully chosen artwork with graceful cutting styles. Personal puzzles using your
own pictures may be ordered.
- Dee Roger's one of a kind traditional and tricky hand-cut wooden jigsaw puzzles.
Keystone Puzzles - High quality hand cut wood puzzles specializing in puzzles from antique
prints & paper ephemera
Pelican Puzzles -
Maker of fine hand-crafted wooden jigsaw puzzles from fine art prints and
photos. Offering both custom-designed and ready-to-ship puzzles
- Hand-cut wooden Jigsaw puzzles made from prints, photographs or silhouettes
Crafty Puzzle Company - Handmade 3D Teak Wood Collapsible Puzzles for the whole
family, which will test your IQ and lateral thinking.
If you have a puzzle related site that you would like to add to our list, please send us some email in the link below.