John Spilsbury Jigsaw - Europe divided into its kingdoms

Jigsaw Puzzle Facts - When was the first jigsaw puzzle made?

The first jigsaw puzzles were made around 1766 by John Spilsbury.

John Spilsbury was an English mapmaker (cartographer) and called what we now know as jigsaw puzzles as “Dissected Maps". These maps were made from wood and used as an educational tool to teach geography.

To create these "Dissected Maps", a map would be first attached to a piece of wood. Then the wood would be cut into pieces based on country borders and boundaries, which created irregular shapes. This allowed the wood to be pulled apart and put together again to reform the map.

The popularity of these "Dissected Maps" ushered a new wave of jigsaw puzzle creators who created puzzles for the alphabet and depicting animals.

Here is an example of a "Dissected Map" (jigsaw puzzle).

Spilsbury jigsaw - Europe divided into its kingdoms, etc. Believed to be the first purpose made jigsaw puzzle. Map pasted onto board and dissected along country boundaries to make an educational jigsaw puzzle. In 50 pieces, of which 5 (for Scotland, the Channel, the Netherlands, and Corsica & Sardinia) are missing, and that for the Gulf of Finland is damaged.

From the image (provided by the British Library), the map has been pasted onto board and cut along country boundaries in 50 pieces, of which 5 are missing (for Scotland, the English Channel, the Netherlands, and Corsica & Sardinia) and the piece for the Gulf of Finland is damaged.


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