Puzzles and games make excellent gifts, but have you ever considered their history? As does everything else, puzzles have an origin. Puzzles are so commonplace today that we forget that as with most other things, puzzles came from small beginnings.
How do you reckon the first puzzle came about? Did a child decide to cut up his drawing and then change his mind and try to put it back together again? Did a man suddenly think that a jigsaw puzzle would be a wonderful stimulant for the development of a child’s brain?
The first jigsaw puzzle is agreed to be created by John Spilsbury in the 1760s. He was a mapmaker and engraver in England, and used his first jigsaw puzzle to assist in teaching geography. Simply adhering a map to a piece of wood, he cut around each country and used this new invention of a jigsaw puzzle as a teaching aid. Teaching of geography was the jigsaw’s primary use until the early 1800s. While cardboard puzzles were around in the late 1800s, due to having to cut them by hand, they didn’t take off dramatically until the 1920s and ’30s, due to the new development of die-cutting machines. And the rest, as they say, is history. Jigsaw puzzles have a rich history and have developed and changed over the years, still providing a source of fun, entertainment, and a rich means of socializing.
What about those wonderful word and number puzzles? Crosswords are found seemingly wherever one looks – in magazines, published books, newspapers, and in educational materials. Crosswords makes top gift ideas for men. Sudoku puzzles are also a great source of entertainment, with a much more recent history than its word-solving counterpart, the crossword puzzle.
So we see crosswords all the time, but what is their origin? Who came up with the novel idea? Like all crazes, it had to start somewhere. Little did the inventor know that his idea for a New York newspaper would take off to become a worldwide phenomena.
Twenty years prior to the appearance of the crossword in the New York newspaper, a similar puzzle had appeared in an Italian magazine. But it was twenty years before another similar puzzle would be seen. Arthur Wynne, a journalist for the New York World, had long been including other puzzles in his section. In 1913 he published the first “word-cross”, later to become known as the first crossword. For the longest time the New York World was the only place crosswords were found, but eleven years later, a small publishing company took hold of the idea and published the first crossword puzzle book. During the 1920s there was such a huge crossword puzzle craze, with clothing and jewellery also featuring crosswords. Obviously the crossword would have been seen as good gift ideas for men during this time also.
While the concept of Sudoku is most probably based on mathematical ideas of Latin Squares from the 1780s, the invention of Sudoku puzzles is a much more recent invention. With the name being of Japanese origin and the concept of the game considered a European and American invention, the game of Sudoku is definitely a hybrid of nationalities. The puzzle has been around for some time, but it has really only been since early 2000 that it has taken off in popularity.
Seeing the rich history of these popular puzzles, it is no wonder that they have become popular gift ideas for men. So next time you’re trying to find creative activities for a rainy day, consider pulling out the latest crossword puzzle book or sudoku and try your hand at these brilliant puzzles.