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Puzzling Fun Facts


How were puzzles invented?

cartographer

Back in 1767, an English cartographer (that’s a person who makes maps) by the name of John Spilsbury,  glued a map to a piece of wood and cut it up into pieces, then he challenged a group of people to try to put it back together and that was the beginning of puzzles! Jigsaws (the tool that’s used to cut the wood into fancy shapes) weren’t invented until 1873, so puzzles back then were called "dissections" or "dissected puzzles." Most puzzles today are made from cardboard, not wood, because they are cheaper and easier to make, and they come in all shapes and sizes!

What is the greatest number of pieces in a puzzle?

According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the world’s largest jigsaw puzzle had 551,232 pieces! The jigsaw puzzle depicted a lotus flower with six petals in symbolic representation of the six areas of knowledge envisaged by the Mindmap study method. It took the students 17 hours to first break up the 3,132 sections, each containing 176 pieces, into which the jigsaw puzzle had been divided, and then re-assemble them to create the puzzle. I wonder who put in the last piece!

What are some of the largest commercial puzzles?

This one is a moving target, but as of this publishing, the largest commercial puzzle is sold by Kodak. This 51,300 piece monster puzzle is over 28' long once assembled, the puzzle gives a colorful portrayal of the '27 Wonders of the World'. Newport Beach, CA resident recently spent over a year assembling this puzzle in his garage; read how he accomplished this challenge. 
https://www.latimes.com/socal/daily-pilot/news/story/2020-07-22/worlds-largest-puzzle-pieced-in-newport-beach-garage

And, well known puzzle manufacturer, Ravensburger, has two puzzles that are 40,320 pieces. Both have a Disney theme to them. 'Making Mickey's Magic' and 'Memorable Disney Moment'

What makes for a difficult jigsaw puzzle? 

The more pieces the more difficult is the obvious answer here but there are other factors that can make a puzzle more challenging. Jigsaw puzzles can be more difficult for a lot of reasons. 

Puzzles that have no edge or corner pieces are more difficult, along with ones that are all the same color. Imagine working a puzzle that's all one color like this oneHeinz released an all red 570-piece puzzle that would keep you busy for a good long while. That’s it. Just red, the color of ketchup.
When the first puzzles were invented, there was no picture to work from; you had to guess where shapes would go just from the title on the box. Imagine working a puzzle that just gave the title 'mountains' or 'Trees'.

Who has the largest collection of jigsaw puzzles?

The largest collection of jigsaw puzzles consists of 1,047 different sets, and was achieved by Luiza Figueiredo of São Paulo, Brazil, on 9 July 2017. 

Here's the interesting part of the story... Luiza Figueiredo started collecting jigsaw puzzles in 1967 and in 2010 she achieved her first world record with a collection of 238 jigsaw puzzles. Later in 2012, she updated her collection and broke her own record with 502 jigsaw puzzles. In November of this same year, Georgina Gil-Lacuna from Philippines presented a collection with 1,028 different sets. However, Luiza Figueiredo was determined to maintain the title, and in 9 July of 2017 presented a collection of 1,047 different jigsaw puzzles, bringing the title back to Brazil.