Putting Together the World's Largest Jigsaw Puzzle

About the puzzle
Name: Historical World Maps
Number of Pieces: 18,240
Size when put together: About 276 x 192 cm (6.3 x 9 feet)
Made in Germany, 2002

About the Assembly
Participants: Chris and Naomi Hathaway
Start/End Date: April 25, 2004 to April 17, 2005
Number of Man Hours: Way too many to count.

The Puzzle

The World's Largest Jigsaw Puzzle

The Story

I served and LDS mission in Austria, where puzzles and board games are considerably more popular than here in the states. Well, one P-Day, we were just shopping around and I saw this puzzle from Ravensburger (a German company). I thought to myself, "Man, who in their right mind would try to put together something like that." Well, about a year later, I was back home and dating my future wife, Naomi. I found out she enjoyed puzzles and games, so the next time we were at the local game shop, I had to show her this monster of a puzzle. When she saw it, she immediately exclaimed, "Ahh, I love maps! I want to do this puzzle." So, a few months later, she bought it on eBay for a lot less than it usually costs (it's usually about 175, but we got it for just over 100). We were rather relieved when we opened it up and found that the four maps that fit together to make the big puzzle were in separate bags, so it was more like doing 4 4500-piece puzzles, but still a monstrous task. So, on April 25, 2004, we started on the first of the four maps.

After getting through a large part of the first portion of the puzzle, we realized we needed to start thinking about how to store the parts of the puzzle as we completed them. Naomi lived in a small college apartment, so we could barely fit one panel at a time, and then, after we got married, we still could only fit one fourth of it in our study, where we continued to work on it. Eventually, we came across an idea that worked quite nicely. Whenever we needed to move a portion of the puzzle (or store it so we could start on the next one), we would place the puzzle on a large piece of felt, then take a long cardboard tube and simply roll it up. As we finished each fourth, we would simply roll it up on top of the old one. This made the puzzle very portable and storeable, despite its great size. After finally finishing all four panels, we simply unrolled each in our living room (the only room big enough to fit them all), and connected them together to reach the final product. We completed the puzzle just under one year later, on April 17, 2005.

Now, I must give credit where credit is due; my wife Naomi was the main contributor in putting together this puzzle (she is much better at it than I), and probably was responsible for at least 80% of the complete puzzle, while I chipped in the other 20% (I did most of the sorting of pieces, and helped somewhat in the assembly). I would say the most difficult part of the puzzle was the thick gold band that separated each panel. The pieces were all the exact same color, and often times, pieces would fit in a place fine, but then at the end there would be pieces that didn't fit in the leftover holes, so you had to keep trying different rearrangements until all of the pieces fit. I never had the patience to do that kind of work; that was all my wife.

As soon as we find a house big enough, I would like to have the puzzle glued together and hung in a study or library, though this may not be for many years to come. Naomi is not nearly as concerned; she, I think, is just glad that it's done. I searched online quite a bit, and only found 2 (maybe 3) instances of people reporting to actually finish the entire puzzle, but I believe we did it the quickest. Plus, when we started, we were only engaged, and so we had probably a good month break in July when we were married. And no, we didn't have a puzzle-themed wedding :)

 

Comments

Puzzle

I was very pleased to find that someone has completed the total 18,000 piece World Maps puzzle.  I have been quite curious if anyone completed it and how many.  Only those that have completed a section can appreciate the involvement of doing this puzzle. 

I am about 90 % finished with the 4th section, but I did not complete all of the borders.  I just had to many problems and to much frustration.  I knew I would have problems joining the sections and I also had no place to even try, so I straight edge cut the borders.

I was very much impressed with your complete picture.

Sincerely,  Jim Bowman

 

 

My fiance has a fasination

My fiance has a fasination with maps since he is a civil engineer and land surveyor. He found this site with your story and began his search to find and purchase this puzzle (he's amazing at them)! After almost 3 years of looking in stores around Iowa and online we found not a single one. We did however see them online priced at over $250 and an extra $50 for shipping at the cheapest but always unavailable since they don't make it anymore. Just today we went into a mall in Des Moines, IA to do Christmas shopping and I seen this puzxle. My fiance's jaw dropoed! We couldn't believe it was sittong in front of us! I purchased it for him for $160, a great steal compared to the prices we have seen online! Austin, my fiance, walked away with the biggest smile on his face and perhaps the best Christmas presrnt ever! We haven't decided if we want to put it together and hang it in his office at work or save it as a collectors item, being it is over 10 years old and not made anymore...but we are leaning more on putting it together :) I am hoping to keep a log of how many hrs it takes us to put together and time it takes!

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Chris and Naomi,

What a beautififul puzzle and a big job you did.
My last puzzle job was together with a good friend: 9000 pieces ''Astrology'' from Ravensburger.

I also write you to solve a problem.
I want to buy the puzzle ''Country Seasons 18,000 Piece Large Format Jigsaw Puzzle'' from Bits & Pieces.
In the USA I can't buy it, because there comes no ship into the direction of Europes (Bit& Pieces told me).

Do you know another solution ?

Greetings and thanks,

Bart van Cleef
Delft

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