12 Things You Might Not Know About JIGSAW PUZZLES - Warped Factor - Words in the Key of Geek.

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12 Things You Might Not Know About JIGSAW PUZZLES

Because who doesn't love a jigsaw?
1. The origin of the jigsaw puzzle dates back to 1766 when British cartographer and engraver, John Spilsbury, designed an educational tool to teach geography. He affixed a world map to wood and carved each country out to create a "Dissected Map." Sensing a business opportunity, Spilsbury created map-puzzles on eight themes - the World, Europe, Asia, Africa, America, England and Wales, Ireland, and Scotland.
2. The name "Jigsaw" is often commonly attributed to the type of blade the puzzles are cut from, but this appears to be a misnomer. Spilsbury's "dissection" puzzles were produced by mounting maps on sheets of hardwood and cutting along national boundaries, using a marquetry saw. A century later in 1880, with the introduction of the treadle fretsaw, dissections started to become known as jigsaw puzzles. Even though the treadle saw is distinctly different from a true jigsaw.

3. The first cardboard jigsaw puzzles started to appear in the late 1800s, but they were slow to replace wooden ones because manufacturers felt that cardboard puzzles would be perceived as low-quality (and because profit margins on wooden jigsaws were four times larger), so nearly all early cardboard puzzles at this time were aimed at children.

4. It was not until the 20th century that cardboard puzzles came to be die-cut, a process whereby thin strips of metal with sharpened edges - rather like a giant cookie-cutter - are twisted into intricate patterns and fastened to a plate. The "die" (which refers to this assembly of twisted metal on the plate) is placed in a press, which is pressed down on the cardboard to make the cut.
5. During the 2020 coronavirus pandemic, demand for jigsaw puzzles saw a surge, comparable to that of the Great Depression of 1929-39. Back then, sales of jigsaw puzzles peaked in early 1933 reaching an astounding 10 million per week. During both eras, puzzles seemed to touch a chord, offering an escape from the troubled times, as well as an opportunity to succeed in a modest way.

6. 1932 saw the introduction of a novel concept on American newsstands, the weekly jigsaw puzzle. The die-cut "Jig of the Week" retailed for 25 cents and appeared every Wednesday. People rushed to buy them and to be the first among their friends to solve that week's puzzle. There were dozens of weekly series including "Picture Puzzle Weekly," "B-Witching Weekly," "Jiggers Weekly," and (featuring popular films) "Movie Cut-Ups."
7. The world's largest-sized jigsaw puzzle measured 5,428.8 m2 (58,435 sq ft) with 21,600 pieces, each measuring a Guinness World Records maximum size of 50 cm by 50 cm. It was assembled on 3 November 2002 by 777 people at the former Kai Tak Airport in Hong Kong.

8. The world's largest commercially available jigsaw puzzle will set you back about £500 and will likely keep you busy for the next few years. At 54,000 pieces, Travel Around Art by Grafika measures 28.35ft by 6.89ft. You may need a bigger dining room table for that one!
9. If 54,000 is not enough pieces for you then how about trying the jigsaw with the greatest number of pieces ever made. Totalling 551,232 pieces and measuring 48.86ft by 76.14ft, it was assembled on 25th September 2011 at Phú Thọ Indoor Stadium in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, by students of the University of Economics, Ho Chi Minh City. It is listed by the Guinness World Records for the "Largest Jigsaw Puzzle – most pieces", but as the intact jigsaw had been divided into 3,132 sections, each containing 176 pieces, which were reassembled and then connected, the claim is controversial.

10. Talking of Guinness World Records, the record for the most expensive jigsaw puzzle sold was set in 2005 when a puzzle consisting of 467 interlocking pieces sold for $27.000 (£14.589). The hand-crafted wooden jigsaw puzzle was custom made by Rachel Page Elliott, who was 92 years old at the time. Elliott had lectured around the world, and had just updated her world-renown book and video on canine anatomical structure and movement. The jigsaw puzzle featured her unique designs of birds, cats, horses, and Golden Retrievers in various poses.
11. It's impossible to categorically state which jigsaw puzzle is the hardest to complete, but if any puzzle designer was going to try and credibly claim that title for one of their designs it would be Yuu Asaka. In 2018 he created "Jigsaw Puzzle 29," titled so because it has just 29 pieces. 29 pieces, you say? Simples, you say? Well get this - unlike a regular puzzle with four corner pieces, Jigsaw Puzzle 29 features five corners. Madness! To make it even trickier, the puzzle is made from pale blue acrylic without a picture. Not so simples!
12. But wait, there's more! Not content with five corners, Asaka then dropped the pieces by ten and created "Jigsaw Puzzle 19." Even simpler, you say? Well you'd be wrong. Dead wrong. This time the whole jigsaw is composed only with corner pieces, and it comes in transparent green acrylic without a picture. Not simples at all my friend.
Happy puzzling!

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