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There’s no question that technology has been the driving force behind life during the pandemic. We’ve hosted Zoom meetings to conduct business, reconnected with friends using FaceTime and passed hours with one of the many streaming services. But as useful as technology can be, we can all probably agree that it is possible to take in too much.

If you’re looking for a reason to take a break from your screens, you’re in luck! Tomorrow, January 29, is National Puzzle Day. But before you stow away to the game closet to find your favorite puzzle, let’s celebrate with a few fun facts about one of the oldest past times:

• Many credit English engraver John Spilsbury as the inventor of the first puzzle around 1760. He used a sheet of hardwood to mount a world map, then cut around country borders with a handsaw.

• Spilsbury called these puzzles “dissected maps” and sold them as teaching tools to the wealthy, including King George III. 

• The name jigsaw puzzle comes from the special saw used to cut the puzzles, but this name didn’t catch on until after the jigsaw was invented in the 1880s.

• Cardboard jigsaw puzzles had a boost in popularity during the Great Depression due to their low cost. A single puzzle could provide hours of entertainment for one family member and then be passed on to another to enjoy.  

• Although many put together puzzles to decompress, others use puzzles to bring out their competitive sides. The World Jigsaw Puzzle Championship takes place in Spain and challenges the fastest jigsaw puzzlers from around the globe. The 2021 event will take place from September 25-26, 2021.

• Lastly, working on puzzles can be good for your health. A 2018 study shows that people who do jigsaw puzzles have longer lifespans and have a decreased chance of developing memory loss.

Is quietly working on a puzzle your idea of the perfect afternoon? If so, tell us your favorite part about jigsaw puzzles in the comments below. 

Happy National Puzzle Day from Lions Pride!