Thursday, June 11, 2015

Then and now …

This is the jigsaw puzzle that I just finished. It seems to be the latest trend … puzzles in the shape of animals, birds and the like. It took a long time to complete but half the fun of doing them is the challenge.

It seems a far cry from this “Jonah and the Whale” wood puzzle that my daughter and son-in-law gave me a few years back:

 It came from an Estate in Garrison, NY. and I assumed that it was from the Orient until I read what Bob Armstrong*, a leading expert on the subject, had to say. He tells me that jig-saw puzzles are a western phenomenon. He also surmises, since the pieces are not interlocking, that it probably dates to the late 1800’s.

This, of course, is not technically a “jig-saw” puzzle because the pieces were probably cut by a fretsaw, but the theory is the same. A picture was adhered to a wood board and then dissected. Evidently this whole puzzle craze started around 1790 when a London map maker mounted a map on a sheet of hardwood and then, using a fine thin saw, cut around the boundaries of the counties. It was his idea to use this as an educational tool to help children learn geography and I remember doing just that, as a child.

There are lots of advantages to working a jig-saw puzzle. The simple act of looking for pieces with another person seems to open the lines of communication. It also provides hours of entertainment for a small price, the puzzles can be recycled and traded with other enthusiasts and it is a great way to reduce stress. Of course it can become addictive…but, as addictions go, it is certainly a harmless one.

* Bob Armstrong's Old Jigsaw Puzzles


Blogger Anvilcloud said...

They aren't everyone's cuppa, but they are pleasurable for some.

5:49 PM  
Blogger troutbirder said...

Since Minnesota winters can get pretty cold we stay inside a lot, read a lot, work puzzles and avoid TV for fear of brain rot....:)

5:29 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wonder how many of todays' kids know what a jigsaw is ? Not many I bet.

7:59 AM  
Blogger possum said...

The best puzzle I ever had was the puzzle of the United States. Each state was cut to its exact shape except RI was attached to Connecticut. I wonder now what they attached the Eastern Shore of VA to... some of our state universities don't even have us on their logos which include a map!
The puzzle taught me the names and locations of the states and they also had pictures of their more noted products. For example, Maine had lobsters, boots, and potatoes. Wisconsin had a bottle of milk.
I learned a lot of geography, the state capitals for all the states, and the produce for many of them - all this before I even entered school! (I never went to kindergarten)
Today my "puzzles" are more of the 3 dimensional variety - models for the various model trains we have at our station. Different kind of fun!

9:37 AM  
Blogger Beatrice P. Boyd said...

Never worked any type of these puzzles, even in my much younger days, Ginnie, but we would get a lot donated to the thrift store where I volunteered. I always wondered if all the pieces were in the boxes😏

3:46 PM  
Blogger NCmountainwoman said...

My aunt credits her love of jigsaw puzzles for her complete recovery from a stroke. Her left side was affected so she did jigsaw puzzles with her left hand, keeping her right hand in her lap. It was slow going at first but she persevered. Her therapist was totally amazed at her progress. Now my aunt always has a complex puzzle in process.

7:42 AM  

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