Eat. Sleep. Puzzles.

Learn more about puzzles how their original intent was not for entertainment.

Puzzles can have images of any kind like, for example, a cover of a real newspaper! (Photo Courtesy of Adalie Landa)

Puzzles can have images of any kind like, for example, a cover of a real newspaper! (Photo Courtesy of Adalie Landa)

Adalie Landa, Staff Writer

Puzzles are one of the many ways to interact and enjoy some quality time with family and friends. The colorful picture being split off into multiple pieces is somehow entertaining and intriguing. Have you ever wondered where puzzles originated? Why were puzzles created and who came up with this brilliant idea? Well, most historians believe that John Spilsbury, who was an engraver and a mapmaker, created the first jigsaw puzzle around the year 1760. According to Ceaco, Spilsbury mounted a world map to a sheet of hardwood and used a hand saw to cut around country boundaries. Calling his work “Dissected Maps”, he sold them as a tool for teaching geography. Later on, in the 19th century, the work Dissected Maps became popular for educational uses for wealthy families that could afford these wooden puzzles. Because each individual piece was cut, they were high-priced. According to Puzzle Warehouse, “A 500-piece puzzle typically cost $5 in 1908, far beyond the means of the average worker who earned only $50 per month”. Because the pieces of a puzzle did not interlock, manufacturers only produced pieces with tabs and blanks on the borders of the puzzle. During World War 2, plywood supply began to shorten, so jigsaw puzzles were starting to be made out of cardboard. Cardboard puzzles are of lower quality, making wood pieces a higher expense. In the 20th century, larger “production houses”, such as Parker Brothers and Detroit Publishing, began to produce jigsaw puzzles. Parker Brothers then introduced figure-shaped pieces that shaped animals, objects, and more. Others began to produce ways for the puzzles to interlock so the puzzle would not fall apart so easily. When the Great Depression arose in the U.S., puzzle production increased drastically. American companies found a new cardboard die cutting technique. This technique reduced labor costs and allowed more cardboard puzzles to be produced. These puzzles were great for spending multiple hours with family, and it’s cheaper cost was a bonus. Eventually some companies began to give away puzzles for free, seeing as these puzzles were so popular. Still today, puzzles of all shapes and sizes are still bought and used for entertainment during long hours of staying at home.