How many of you are like me and enjoy the challenge of a great jigsaw? I love to do one around 2000 pieces; anything smaller seems too easy, and I did one once that was 3000 pieces!
I use a large pin board so that I can slide it away when I have to pull myself away from it (which is hard ) and to keep my cats, Laurel and Hardy, from destroying all my hard work.
Then I got to thinking about when jigsaws first became available and so did a bit of research on the history of jigsaw puzzles.
They were originally created by painting a picture on a flat rectangular piece of wood and then the picture would painstakingly be cut into many pieces using a jigsaw. That is where the name comes from.
A London engraver and map-maker called John Spilsbury became the first person to create commercial jigsaws, around 1760.
Now jigsaws are usually made of cardboard, although many for young children are made from wood, as it makes the pieces easier to handle.
The process is that the chosen artwork is glued onto cardboard and fed into a press. The press will then force a set of hardened steel blades of selected shapes through the cardboard, to cut the picture into the required number of pieces.
A press of upwards of 700 tons is needed to cut a standard 1000 piece jigsaw into pieces!
By the beginning of the 1930’s, hydraulic presses were in common use for the production of mass jigsaws and allowed the industry to grow to enormous proportions.
Now, you can find amazing choices of jigsaw puzzles up to around 9000 pieces, and you can even find 3-dimensional, as well as acrylic, challenges. The largest jigsaw puzzle ever completed in the world was put together in the former Kai Tak airport in Hong Kong.
Seven hundred and seventy-seven people constructed the jigsaw, containing 21,600 pieces, and it measured an impressive 58,435 square feet. Not one you could do at home!
So thanks John Spilsbury, for starting production on something that has brought pleasure to millions of us around the world.
These photos are of some of my favourite jigsaws that I have done over the last few years.
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