Jigsaws were invented here
  1. Pioneer »

Jigsaws were invented here

This is where the humble jigsaw was invented in the 1760s.


In the 18th century Russell Court was here, just off Russell Street and Drury Lane. John Spilsbury, engraver, mapmaker & print seller, owned a print shop here in the 1760's.

Spilsbury was born in Worcester, England in 1739 and as a young man was apprenticed to Thomas Jeffreys near Charing Cross. Jeffreys was an engraver, map seller and Geographer to the King. Spilsbury worked for Jeffreys until about 1760, then went into business for himself here.

Spilsbury wanted to aid the teaching of geography (which was still very formative - his world map jigsaw didnt include Australia!). It was fun and children seemed to enjoy them. There is an example of Spilsbury's jigsaw in the British Library.

John Spilsbury died in 1771.

A street directory from 1763 lists him as:

Spilsbury, John. Engraver and Map Dissector in Wood, in order to facilitate the Teaching of Geography. Russel-court, Drury-lane.

Location: Russell Street, Covent Garden, London