History of Tangram

Pickagram was inspired by the ancient Tangram, which has more than 200 years of deep-rooted history. Tangram is a dissection puzzle consisting of seven flat polygons, called tans, which are put together to form shapes. The puzzle dates back over 200 years and allows users to create more than 2000 shape combinations.

Find out more about the history of Tangram:


1796 - China

The Invention of Tangram:

  • In the beginning of the Ch'ing dynasty, a game called the Tangram was created by Yang-cho-chu-shih
  • Tangram puzzles under the name “Chin-Chiao Pan’, which means ‘intriguing seven-piece puzzle’

1815 - China

The Oldest Chinese Tangram Book

  • The oldest surviving Chinese Tangram book by Sang-hsia-k’o was published in 1815

1817 - England

Tangram's First Landing

  • England was the first country to copy the Chinese puzzle and publish books and boxed sets
  • The puzzle quickly became fashionable in England in early 1817
  • Copies of the Wallies books had been published in France, Italy, the Netherlands, and Switzerland, making the Tangram puzzle craze on the continent 

1817 - Italy

Tangram Craze Took Place

  • The earliest and most widely copied Italian Tangram book, ‘New and Delightful Chinese puzzle’, was published by Lorenzo Bardi in Florence
  • The Italian Tangram books were published of 100 miniature illustrations of architectural features such as monuments, buildings, fountains and bridges

1817 - Sweden

Tangram Publications in Sweden

  • As the craze swept Europe, Sweden also became interested in the Tangram, as witnessed by a beautiful set of thirty-six hand-colored problem pictures published there

1818 - France

Tangram Goes Viral

  • At least nineteen French publication of Tangram problem figures came out in a form of beautifully hand-colored miniature pictures.
  • Religious figures and hand-colored portraits of King Henry IV were published based on the shapes of Tangram puzzles 

1818 - Denmark

Tangram Publications in Denmark

  • Denmark saw a remarkable interest in the Tangram. There were four related publications and “Many thousands of sets are sold at different shops in Copenhagen made from mother-of-pearl, ebony, mahogany, and other types of wood, even of glass”

1820 - Netherlands

Tangram Publications in Netherlands

  • Two Dutch Tangram books were published before 1820 

1848 - America

Dr Thomas Hill - President of Harvard University

  • Published book - “Geometrical Puzzles of the young”. His articles and books, which recommended using the Tangram for teaching geometry, influenced other educators, who in turn spread the name “Tangram” and the use of the puzzle in schools and through the educational community

1908 - America

Samuel Loyd

  • ‘The Eighth Book of Tan’ was published by Samuel Loyd, a famous American puzzle writer, which features 700 unique Tangram designs