John Spilsbury, we salute you.



Whenever I write these puzzle blogs, I conduct a good amount of research beforehand. I always want to make sure the topics I'm writing about are interesting and accurate.

For this weeks puzzle themed blog, I was struggling to find something that I thought was cool enough to be a full topic, but then I came across a fact that I had never heard before.

Here It is:

Puzzles were used in 18th century Europe to teach geography to those who were setting sail, or just to those who needed to understand country borders. These puzzles were known as "Dissected Maps". The purpose behind them was to, as said, teach people about the borders of each country. To do so, they would be given the pieces, and have to put them back together themselves, therefore over time memorizing where one area ended and another began, which helped them travel more efficiently.


Now, these puzzles were not the ones we know today. The European mapmakers at the time would paste a stencil of a map on top of the wood, and then cut it up into pieces. The very first jigsaw puzzle followed suit shortly after the invention of dissection maps, and was made by John Spilsbury in 1767. Spilsbury saw how popular, and useful, the dissection maps were and became aware of a business opportunity. Unfortunately, he did not get to see the fruition of his creation, as he passed shortly after in 1769 at the age of 30. However, he can now rest easy knowing that everyone reading this blog attributes the creation of "It's More Than A Puzzle" to him.


These dissected maps are not just a thing of the past, young children are often given these "toys" to learn the location of states, provinces, and countries. So thank you Mr. Spilsbury for advancing children's understanding of geography since the late 18th century.


Okay now I need to know, did you already know this fact? And did you find it as interesting as I did?


If you want to keep reading about dissected maps, and John Spilsbury, click the link below:

Dissected Maps: The Origins of Jigsaw Puzzles Historic Geneva

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