Home Gallery and Examples Gallery and Examples: Current Artists Puzzles from your Pictures Puzzle ABC's Order and Pricing Info Email Us About Us

Jigsaw Puzzle History and Links to Other Sites

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 Heritage, 1996.
  • "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 awilliam@bates.edu

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.
  • Platinum Puzzles - 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
  • RB 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.

Home Gallery and Examples Puzzles from your Pictures Puzzle ABC's Order and Pricing Info About Us Email us Links