This is fascinating. I was not aware that there were jigsaw puzzles during the 19th century. I've always thought children didn't really have many games besides balls and things of that nature. I have been doing jig saw puzzles since Kindergarten and to see such old puzzles was amazing to me. An excerpt from the Bob Armstrong Old Jigsaw Puzzles site: "Puzzles made in the 19th century were cut by hand from solid wood or a thin veneer or press board, with coping saws, treadle scroll saws and, if the material was thin enough, by slicing with a very sharp knife. The limitations of materials and equipment kept the pieces large, the knobs (if any) large, and the cutting simple, usually straight or crooked lines."
The puzzles cut that were made for grown ups were greatly improved in 1907, when a young woman in Eastern Massachusetts started to cut colorful magazine covers into 100-200 pieces to sell them at a children 's hospital benefit fair. The puzzles became popular. This information is from the "19th century puzzles" and the "1900 to 1930 hand cut puzzles" at the Armstrong's site.
Both sites below are equally good. The images above are from both sites.
Bob Armstrong's Old Jigsaw Puzzles
October 29, 2009