Who invented the first jigsaw puzzle?

Back in 1767 an Englishman named John Spilsbury invented the first jigsaw puzzle.

He was a London engraver and mapmaker by trade and he worked as an apprentice to Thomas Jefferys, who was the Royal Geographer to King George III.

The first jigsaw puzzle Spilsbury invented was a map of the world. He attached a picture of a world map to wood, and cut out each country individually.

It was used as a way of educating children in the subject of geography, as the students had to fix the separated countries back together in the correct spaces.

Almost 100 years later a new invention called the fret treadle saw, which was operated with foot pedals like a sewing machine was created in 1865. This gave the machinist the ability to create machine-aided curved lines which was needed to make the perfect puzzle creations.

The fret or scroll saw as it was originally known is now called a jigsaw.

Around 1880, jigsaws were all being made by machine and although some cardboard jigsaw puzzles were around the biggest sellers remained to be the wooden puzzles.

In the 20th century, mass production of jigsaw puzzles began with the creation of the the die-cut machine.

Sharp metal dies were created like stencils, these were then pressed on cardboard sheets or soft wood and subsequently cut into varying shapes depending on the number of pieces in a jigsaw.

In the 21st century, with an even larger audience online, the invention of virtual jigsaw puzzle applications were created.

Feature Image by Zoltan Matuska from Pixabay