Puzzles: they’re one of the oldest forms of entertainment, and they appeal to people of all ages and backgrounds. Where did jigsaw puzzles come from, though, and why have they endured for so long? The answers may surprise you.
Puzzles have been Around for over 2000 Years
While the exact origins of the puzzle are unknown, Archimedes described a square that had been dissected in 250 BC. The origins of the noun “puzzle” (or the verb “to puzzle”) are also murky, but the first modern jigsaw puzzle was linked to John Salisbury in 1767. A cartographer, he mounted a map on a piece of hardwood, sawed it apart, and challenged the English public to try putting it back together.
They Became Popular During the Great Depression
Despite existing for nearly a millennia, puzzles didn’t enjoy commercial success until the Great Depression. At a time when resources were sparse, children and adults alike turned to puzzles for inexpensive and long-lasting entertainment. Before that time, easy puzzles had been the norm and were largely marketed to children. After WWII, companies saw the potential in selling moderately difficult puzzles to adults. Now made of cardboard, these 1000 and 2000 piece puzzles were easy to create and offered fun for the whole family.
The World’s Largest Puzzle was Over 40,000 Pieces
The Guinness Book of World Records recognized “Memorable Disney Moments” as the largest puzzle in the world, both in terms of size and number of pieces. The puzzle, which features images from classic Disney films, is ten feet long, six feet wide, and took roughly 600 hours to complete. The 40,320-piece puzzle is available for purchase, valued at approximately $400 and weighing 44 pounds.
Puzzling can Reduce Onsets of Memory Loss and Dementia
Even if you’re working through simple 300 piece puzzles, using logic to work through a problem and intuition to imagine the final piece stimulates various cells in the brain. In addition, the act of focusing on an image and completing repetitive motions as we put the pieces in place puts us in a meditative state, which “resets” our brains on a subconscious level.
Whether you’re new to puzzling and working on 300 piece puzzles, or you’ve advanced to the level of expert and are ready to take on 40,000 pieces, puzzles offer long-lasting fun that lasts for hours, stimulates your mind, and calms your soul. What other activity does that?