Dissectology

Introducing Dissectology – the science of jigsaws

Are you a Dissectologist? You’re probably one if you’re reading this! And in the immortal words of Maureen Lipman in BT’s 1988 TV commercial – “If you’ve got an ‘ology’, you’re a scientist!” – watch it on Youtube

Welcome to a new series of bite-sized articles on the wonderful world of dissectology. Jigsaw puzzles, or Dissections as they were originally called, were invented by British cartographer John Spilsbury in the 1760s. He attached a map to wood and carved out the countries. These “dissected maps” were used to help teach geography. Jigsaw puzzles are now available in a huge range of materials and styles and are mainly completed for fun or for the satisfaction of a mission accomplished. If you have ever stayed up late in the night to put in “just one more piece”, you are probably a dissectologist!

John Spilsbury jigsaw "Europe divided into its kingdoms, etc." London, 1766, British Library (Creative Commons collection)
John Spilsbury “Europe divided into its kingdoms, etc.”, London, 1766 (British Library)

You may have seen our recent article on the various Wasgij puzzle styles. Our next article will be on the joys of circular puzzles and also look out for a review of puzzle piece terminology, including some of our own preferred terms for impressive manoeuvres when completing a tricky puzzle!

In a personal capacity as dedicated puzzlers, we are proud members of the Benevolent Confraternity of Dissectologists, a UK based society for jigsaw followers. This friendly club holds regular meetings (Zoom presentations & Flickr groups in recent times). It’s a great way to see examples of fabulous wooden jigsaws from yesteryear as well as modern creations. Membership is just £12 per household per annum (at the time of writing) – well worth it!

We welcome your views on all things related to Dissectology – please don’t hesitate to email us or call 07803 203617 or 01829 458259. We’d also love to see you on Facebook or Instagram.

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Wasgij: Jigsaws with a Twist

Do you already love Wasgij jigsaws or are you yet to try them? Here’s some background on this hugely popular series of puzzles, including a few examples of our recent additions. Wasgij is of course jigsaw spelt backwards and is officially pronounced “Woz-gidge”.

The first Wasgij puzzles came to the market in 1997 with the aim of offering a new challenge – the puzzle you complete is NOT the picture on the box, you need to use your imagination and the clues provided to piece together the solution. Wasgijs grew steadily in popularity over the years and some older titles have been reissued recently in special “Retro” packaging.

Wasgij Original (and Christmas) titles
In the Original Wasgij concept you don’t puzzle what you see on the box, you puzzle what the characters in the scene are looking at. The jigsaw keeps you guessing until the very last minute. It’s usually best to start with the border and then work on larger areas of similar colours or patterns. The cartoon-style images add to the fun!

Wasgij Destiny titles
Puzzle what the future holds….what has changed and have the characters got older and wiser?! The background of the scene is in the same general proportions, giving you a few clues as you start putting the puzzle together.

Wasgij Mystery titles
Puzzle what happens next…the setting remains broadly the same but things have moved on a bit – usually to a scene of utter mayhem!

If you live in our home village Kelsall, we also stock a selection of Wasgijs in our Handy Jigsaws free loan service, including a 500 piece puzzle. A borrower commented: “A good Wasgij if you are looking for a quicker solution than 1000 pieces!”

Be warned – Wasgijs can be highly addictive!

Contact us for orders and enquiries.
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