Worlds of David Darling
Encyclopedia of Science
   
Home > Encyclopedia of Science

mechanical puzzle





A puzzle, involving several objects or a single object composed of one or more movable parts, whose solution requires moving from an initial state to a predefined final state. Mechanical puzzles were first classified by Louis Hoffmann in Puzzles Old And New (1893).1 A modified form of his scheme is shown in the table below. Click on the links for further details.


type subtype example(s)
assembly 2-dimensional assembly
3-dimensional assembly (non-interlocking)
matchstick puzzles
miscellaneous
Tangrams, T-puzzle, jigsaw
Soma cube

puzzle rings
disassembly trick or secret opening
miscellaneous
puzzle boxes
trick locks, keys, etc
interlocking solid burr puzzles
3-dimensional jigsaws
interlocking


cubes, other objects
entanglement and
disentanglement
wire puzzles
string puzzles
miscellaneous
Chinese rings
cat's cradle
sequential movement counter removal
counter rearrangemt
sliding-piece
miscellaneous
peg solitaire

Fifteen puzzle
Tower of Hanoi
puzzle vessels puzzle jugs
miscellaneous

bottom-fill teapots, pitchers
vanishment puzzles

Get Off the Earth
folding origami
flexagons

impossible objects    


References

  1. Hoffmann, Professor (Angelo Louis). Puzzles Old and New. London: Frederick Warne, 1893. Republished privately by L. Edward Hordern, 1993.
  2. Slocum, Jerry. Compendium of Mechanical Puzzles. 3rd ed. Slocum and Haubrich, 1977.

Related category

   • GAMES AND PUZZLES