A jigsaw puzzle is a tiling puzzle that requires the assembly of often oddly shaped interlocking and mosaiced pieces. Typically, each individual piece has a portion of a picture; when assembled, the jigsaw puzzle produces a complete picture.
Jigsaw puzzles were originally created by painting a picture on a flat, rectangular piece of wood, and then cutting that picture into small pieces. Despite it being called a jigsaw, a jigsaw was never actually used to cut it. John Spilsbury, a London cartographer and engraver, is credited with commercializing jigsaw puzzles around 1760. Jigsaw puzzles have since come to be made primarily of cardboard.
Typical images found on jigsaw puzzles include scenes from nature, buildings, and repetitive designs -- castles and mountains are common, traditional subjects. However, any kind of picture can be used to make a jigsaw puzzle; artisanal puzzle-makers and companies using technologies to allow one-off or small print run puzzles allow a wide range of subject matter, from optical illusions, unusual art, or personal photographs. Beyond flat two-dimensional puzzles, three-dimensional puzzles have been moving to large-scale production and distribution, including spherical jigsaws and architectural recreations.
During recent years, a range of jigsaw puzzle accessories including boards, cases, frames, and roll-up mats have become available that are designed to assist jigsaw puzzle enthusiasts.