Jigsaw Puzzle Used To Test Ellis Island Immigrants’ Intelligence

Found some really interesting news out of The Smithsonian this week.

Most of us use jigsaw puzzles as a stimulating or relaxing activity, but back in the early 1900s they also provided a much more unjust use.

Ellis Island immigrants were presented this simple wooden puzzle as part of a test to gain admittance to the country. Apparently, the people who failed to assemble the puzzle correctly could be deemed “feeble minded” and risk being sent back home.


jigsaw puzzle

The puzzle, when correctly assembled (above), represents the profile of a man.

They called it the “Feature Profile Test” and according to the puzzle’s designer Howard Knox, it served the purpose of measuring those who might serve as a burden to the state due to their insufficient mental makeup. Yikes. Doesn’t seem like open-mindedness with respect to immigrants has changed too much!

But as for the use of jigsaw puzzles, I think we’ve found plenty of productive ways ūüôā

Celebrate Earth Day With These Earthy Puzzles!


Earth Day is coming up soon, and Lord knows our Earth could use some appreciating these days.

Here’s a little collection of jigsaw puzzles to help you celebrate this planet we all live on!

3D Globe Puzzle

540 curved pieces make up this globe of a puzzle.
99 Beautiful Places On Earth
From ‘Old Faithful’ to The Great Wall Of China, this¬†27″ x 20″ covers some our planets gems.
Smithsonian Earth PuzzleHere’s a beautiful 1000-piece puzzle brought to you by our friends at The Smithsonian. National Geographic Collection
This collection from National Geographic includes 10 gorgeous jigsaw puzzles.
‘Planet Earth’ Everest Puzzle
500 pieces of beauty brought to you by BBC.
Northern Lights Puzzle
One of the world’s most amazing natural wonders in 1,000 pieces!
Grand Canyon Puzzle

This panoramic 1,000 piecer measures 13″ x 39″.

Earth Facts Puzzle

This fact-filled earth puzzle rewards the assembler with some earthly knowledge. 1000 pieces.

To be quite honest, narrowing this list down was a challenge. There are a ton of beautiful nature puzzles out there! If you have any favorite earth or nature-themed jigsaw puzzles, feel free to share them in the comments below.

And while you’re at it, give a big ol’ thank you to the third rock from the sun!

A 23-Foot-Long Disney Puzzle

Look at this puzzle, isn’t it neat?! (See what I did there?)

Ravensburger is responsible for this beauty.

At 22.25 ft x 6.25′ feet, this Disney fan’s delight contains 10 hand-drawn scenes from your favorite Disney films: Snow White, Dumbo, Fantasia, The Lion King, and more! This beast contains over 40,000 pieces. It’s Guinness Book Of World Records certified: the largest commercial jigsaw puzzle!

Memorable Disney Moments Disney Jigsaw Puzzle

Of course at this length and quality it’s no cheap buy at $399.99.

As an added bonus (for the TRUE Disney fans) each scene contains a Hidden Mickey. Due to its size and difficulty, this one is recommended for puzzlers aged 14 and up.

An Incredibly Challenging ALL COLORS Puzzle

If you’ve been looking for a real challenge, I’ve got a doozy for ya.

all colors3

This beautiful 5,000 piece puzzle contains every color in the CYMK spectrum.¬†Each tile is an individual color, and the task is to place each color exactly in relation to every other colour. And let me just say, that’s no easy task.

Apparently the makers originally made a 1,000 piece puzzle that just wasn’t enough of a challenge for eager puzzlers, and the result was the creation of this LENGTH. They also make a 100-piece color spectrum puzzle for younger or less experienced puzzlers.

all colors1

all colors2

You can order the 5,000 piece puzzle for $150 or the 1,000 for $40.

At the very least its assembly makes for a riveting time lapse.

The New Yorker’s Jigsaw Puzzle Game

I knew The New Yorker had their own series of jigsaw puzzles but today I discovered they also have a pretty fun online jigsaw puzzle game! The puzzles are all different New Yorker covers and you can choose your level of difficulty from three options.

The controls are pretty simple. You drag your mouse over one or several pieces to move them and use your arrow keys to rotate pieces.


The game will automatically time you so you can challenge yourself or your friends. You can also refresh and try as many different covers as you’d like! It’s pretty fun and also pretty easy to sneakily work on while you’re at work. I won’t tell if you won’t.


If you don’t already have a¬†New Yorker subscription, maybe this will be the thing to change your mind!

I’ve already completed three of these bad boys and don’t see myself quitting any time soon. Have fun puzzling!

An Unfinishable Jigsaw Puzzle

Science nerds rejoice, but if completing a puzzle is your favorite part of the puzzling experience, you will hate this.

They call it the “Infinity Puzzle”: a puzzle that¬†has no fixed shape, no starting point, and thousands of configurations. It was designed after a fascinating scientific concept called the “Klein Bottle” which is essentially an impossible 3D shape where the inside and outside are mathematically indistinguishable. To clarify this even further, the pieces from the right side of the puzzle can attach to the left side but only after they are flipped over.


In sum: the Infinity Puzzle has no inside, outside, up, or down side. It can start anywhere on any side! That pretty much eliminates the puzzling trick of beginning by flipping over all the pieces to be right side up.

The Infinity Puzzle also displays a picture of the galactic center of the Milky Way. The image is continuous on both sides.

It¬†costs $130 and you can purchase it here, but people were so into this idea that they’ve already sold out! Expect to wait a few weeks for your Infinity Puzzle to ship.

Nervous System, the company responsible for this scientific puzzling gem, actually makes a lot of really cool puzzles you can check out here.

Apparently Jigsaw Puzzles Are Truly Timeless

I was reading through the news and came across this interesting article about the history of the jigsaw puzzle and it’s appeal.

Here’s something you might not have known (I certainly didn’t):¬†The first puzzle is attributed to Englishman John Spilsbury who created the first one in 1767. He was a teacher and a cartographer and cut up a wooden map of England and Wales for his students to reassemble and simultaneously learn British geography.


The article also contains a series of interesting facts about the jigsaw puzzle in its evolution from 1767 to today. For example, jigsaw puzzles exceed 10 million dollars a year (wonder how much we’ve all contributed to that number…).

Check out the article if you’re interested, and let me know if you have any more fun jigsaw puzzle facts! I’m thinking of compiling a list for a separate article coming soon.

Happy Thanksgiving all!

Puzzle Truck Fundraiser

Figured my fellow puzzle people would think this was interesting!

Check out this incredible fundraising page for “My African Toy Puzzle Truck” on¬†IndieGoGo:

The Puzzle Truck is an indoor/outdoor wooden toy that encourages creativity and physical play. A portion of the proceeds from each truck sale will go toward building a soccer stadium for the Mkombozi Soccer League in the Kilimanjaro region of Tanzania in east Africa.

For every¬†purchase of a “My African Toy Puzzle Truck,” $10 will go toward building the state of the art soccer facility in Tanzania. This soccer facility will serve the Kilimanjaro community by providing a safe space for gathering and providing economic opportunity for local residents with jobs maintaining and managing the facility.

puzzle truck 1

The Puzzle Truck comes as an unassembled kit with over 50 pieces to be put together. The healthy, non-toxic, no-glue and no-screws design safely encourages creativity, motor skill development, and physical activity.

puzzle truck 2

You can donate to this awesome project and get your own puzzle truck by visiting the IndieGoGo page! Here’s that link one more time for you. Puzzle on!