The invention of the jigsaw puzzle is credited to John Spilsbury, an English cartographer? He first put maps on top of sheets of wood and cut the pieces along national boundaries. These “dissected maps” were created as materials to teach geography around the year 1760. The children of King George III and Queen Charlotte were said to have been taught geography using this technique. It came to be called “jigsaw puzzle” in the 1880s by mistake, as the tool frequently used to cut the puzzle pieces were fretsaws and not jigsaws. During the Victorian era, jigsaw puzzle makers usually put special puzzle pieces called a “whimsy piece.” These pieces are often in the shape of easily recognizable everyday objects, chosen to correspond with the theme of the picture used in the puzzle. During the Great Depression, jigsaw puzzles became popular as an affordable way to pass the time. As a result, jigsaw puzzle sales reached an all-time high of 10 million per week in 1933. Nowadays, jigsaw puzzles come in many different variations. From the wooden jigsaw pieces of the past, modern jigsaw puzzles are now made out of paperboard as it is cheaper and easier to mass produce. There are now three-dimensional jigsaw puzzles, circular jigsaw puzzles, puzzles with optical illusions and hidden images, puzzle globes, and more.
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