Jigsaw Puzzle

Jigsaw puzzles are a type of puzzle games in which the player has to assemble numerous small differently shaped pieces in a way that they fit together perfectly. Generally, there is a part of an image on each tile. The aim of the player is to complete the puzzle so that it represents the complete picture. Many advanced type of jigsaw puzzles have been introduced over the years, including optical illusion puzzles and spherical jigsaws.

Originally, a picture was painted on a plane rectangular portion of wood for crafting these puzzles. The wood was then cut into small pieces using a jigsaw to create the puzzle. This is also the origin of the name "Jigsaw". John Spilsbury, a mapmaker and engraver from London, is believed to be the first person to commercialize the jigsaw puzzles in the 1760s. At present, cardboard is used for making the puzzles.

Images of the nature, repetitive designs and buildings are commonly used on the jigsaw puzzles. Traditional subjects include mountains and castles. But, one can use any picture for these puzzles. A completed puzzle can also be used as an artwork after attaching it to some kind of backing using adhesive.

At present, a range of accessories is available along with the puzzles. These accessories include cases, boards, roll-up mats and frames specially designed for assisting jigsaw puzzle enthusiasts. According to some puzzle lovers, looking at the image on the box of the puzzle before completing the puzzle is against the rules. But, most people solve the puzzle only after they see the image on the box.

Jigsaw Puzzle

Jigsaw Puzzle Construction

Cardboard is used for making modern jigsaw puzzles as it makes it cheaper and easier to produce large numbers of puzzles compared to wooden models. A printed copy of a painting, an enlarged picture or some other 2D picture is attached onto one side of the cardboard with glue. The board is then inserted into a press, which cuts the board in small pieces of desired shapes using differently shaped hardened steel blades. This procedure resembles the process of making shaped cookies using cookie cutters. However, the press uses tremendous forces. A press used for making a 1000-piece puzzle has to be able to generate seven hundred tons of force for pushing the knives through the cardboard.

Jigsaw Puzzle Variations

Typical jigsaw puzzles include 1,000-piece, 750-piece, 500-piece and 300-piece puzzles. The largest known commercial jigsaw puzzle spans 544 cm X 192 cm and has 32,256 pieces. The layout used for a modern thousand-piece puzzle is a 38 pieces X 27 pieces one having a total of 1,026 pieces. Most of the 500-piece puzzles are using the layout of 27 pieces X 19 pieces. Jigsaw puzzles made for children are available in various sizes and are rated according to how many pieces they have. Double sided puzzles, which can be worked out from both sides, are also made. These puzzles are harder to solve as one has to figure out which side of the pieces has to be used for completing a particular side.

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