Dexterity Puzzles

The emphasis here is on steady hands, perseverance, and lots of patience rather than logical analysis. In his seminal book Puzzles Old and New published in 1893, Angelo John Lewis, writing under the pen name "Professor Louis Hoffmann" described the class of dexterity puzzles as those "which do not depend upon any secret, or intellectual process, but upon some knack, only to be obtained by repeated persistent effort of the 'try and try again' kind on the part of the operator." (A definition one could argue which applies equally well to many video games of recent years!) Some collectors of mechanical puzzles shun the dexterity category.

Dexterity puzzles are covered in Chapter I of Hoffmann's book, and the first example listed, No. I, is called the "Pick-Me-Up" puzzle. It is identical in principle to the example shown here which is called "Upsy-Downsy." One must maneuver the ball up the spiral ramp to the detent at the pinnacle.

According to James Dalgety, the Pick-Me-Up design is a contender for the title of World's Oldest Puzzle. An artifact resembling this design was found in the ruins of the ancient Indus Valley city of Mohenjo-Daro and dates to around 2500 B.C.

One of the best-known dexterity puzzles is Pigs in Clover, in which you are to get all the "pigs" (balls) simultaneously into the "pig pen" at the center of the maze. That puzzle caused a craze around 1889, and appeared in political cartoons of the time. Pictured are an original Pigs in Clover at left, a Journet version at right, and a version by Milton Bradley below.

Oddly enough, though it predates the publication of Hoffmann's book, Pigs in Clover does not appear in it by name - the closest puzzle included is No. XV, The Maze. Since its debut, Pigs in Clover has continued to appear in one form or another to the present day.

There have been countless different dexterity puzzles produced over the years since Hoffmann's publication, though most are variations on a few common themes. Many dexterity puzzles involve the proper positioning, movement, or segregation of small balls contained in the body of the puzzle, which is often a box with a transparent lid. The balls have evolved from clay, to lead shot, to steel bearings - at one time before it was known to be hazardous, mercury was used! As we have seen, some complicate matters by including a maze or other obstacles. Other types entail the challenge of balancing various elements, or of producing a clever or carefully achieved arrangement of pieces. There are even some which I would venture to say go beyond Hoffmann's definition and do depend upon a secret, or some intellectual analysis, if not as a requirement to solve, then surely as a short-cut to a dependably repeatable solution. I refer to that subcategory as the "Motion-Trick" variety of dexterity puzzle.

Balancing Ovoids

This is a pair of Columbus Egg Puzzles from the 1492-1892 Columbian Exposition and Worlds Fair. Both are a bit dinged and blemished, but both are intact and functional.

The U.S. Patent Office devotes an entire sub-class to "Balancing Ovoids" ( ccl/273/154). The theme was especially popular around the time of the 1892 Fair, celebrating the 100th anniversary of the discovery of America by Christopher Columbus.

For examples, see U.S. Patent 496716 - Benitez 1893 ; also 467384 - Schulze 1892; also 459233 - Woodbridge 1891 (which doesn't look like it would actually work), and 1235306 - Fredrick 1917.

The inscriptions on one egg occur in four concentric circles on the wide end, starting with a portrait of Columbus with the dates 1492 and 1892, and the word "patented." I couldn't get my camera to focus on the surface inscriptions, so I saved this shot of someone else's. The next ring contains the words "Chicago - P.M. Baumgardner & Co. Patentees." Then "Columbus Egg Puzzle" and finally "World's Fair Souvenir." Since mine indicates that the egg is patented, while the egg in the photo lacks the word under the portrait, and says "Pat Apld For" after Baumgardner, there must be various versions.

The solutions to balancing ovoid puzzles usually depend on finding a way to take advantage of an internal mechanism, and will require some motion trick. You'll note that my photo, though blurry, shows the egg standing on its small end - yes, I solved it!

I have seen several of these come up for sale now and then, and often the seller does not realize the purpose of the puzzle and has attempted to open it! Please, folks, these are not meant to be prised open! The Columbus Egg has sold for well over $100 - even this broken one went for over $150. I saved this photo of the inside.

Compare this to the illustration from Benitez' patent. The internal setup looks simplified to a single platform rather than two, but still employs the central ramp and shaft.


A vintage red Magic Egg Puzzle - a red celluloid (or plastic?) egg
with gold and black markings.
"Stand it on end - try it" - balance the egg on its fat end.
An internal weight frustrates your efforts.
Label says "Pat. Pend."
I don't have any information on the origin or history of this puzzle -
if you do know something about it, please email me!


I was contacted by fellow collector John Davenport, who happens to own an example of this egg puzzle having a transparent top half. Presumably this version was given to store owners in order that they could demonstrate the puzzle. John kindly supplied the photos below and I include them with his permission.


Trick-Ei (Egg) from Pussycat -
the object is to balance the egg on its small end

The Tower of Pisa, from Bits and Pieces. Unless you find the secret, the tower falls.

Balance the die on its corner.

Ze Balancing Egg - designed, made,
and exchanged at IPP35 by Stephen Chin

Another vintage souvenir of the 1492 - 1893 Columbian Exposition, this metal container has a glass top and contains two small metallic eggs. There are evidently magnets underneath the paper bottom of the container, which is a dark blue color printed with stars. There is no indication of the objective but it probably has to do with balancing the ovoids on their ends.

Unstable Eggs series 1 and 2 - Coremods

Other Balancing Feats


"Balance several nails on the head of another" appears in many forms. All rely on the head's flange.

Here are some additional balancing puzzles, in the Family Games IQ Collection line.




The Amazing Acrobat by Toysmith is a nicely produced dexterity challenge set. A gift from Brett. Thanks!

Motion Trick Puzzles

Some dexterity puzzles require finding the right motion or technique to solve:

"r2d2" by "Roger"

"Alles Roger" by "Roger"

Moses' Cradle - Skor Mor
Get one ball in each end. This is a very nice, hefty version. See also Journet's "Spoophem," Thinkfun's "All Uphill," and the Adams Dipsy Ball.

All Uphill - Thinkfun

Matchless - designed by Ken Stevens
made by Buttonius
exchanged at IPP35 by Peter Hajek.
Remove the match from the case via
either small passage in the rim.

Assorted Dexterity Puzzles

This is the Up-to-You puzzle from the 1904 Louisiana Purchase Exposition. It is a glass slab into the back of which a spiral track with eight pockets has been molded. The back is sealed with a cardboard square depicting the Central Cascade and Festival Hall of the Exposition. There are eight small ball bearings trapped in the track and the goal is to maneuver one into each pocket simultaneously. It's in great shape for something over 100 years old, and it still works - all the balls roll freely (and quite quickly I might add).

There are many interesting websites devoted to the 1904 Expo.

Evidently there were other designs produced using the same glass slab - I saw the Burro below but I don't have it.

This is a boxed vintage dexterity challenge called The Donkey Puzzle:

Shake the box to properly position the obstinate donkey in front of the cart.

An assortment of inexpensive plastic dexterity puzzles.

Two rolling-ball mazes from the Harmonic Reed Corp. of Conshohocken, PA - Splashdown, and the Mystery Maze, which has a permanent cover over one corner of the maze. Don't peel off the sticker!

Upsy Downsy
Maneuver the ball up the spiral ramp to the detent at the pinnacle.

German Pussycat set

There are many different dexterity puzzles in small transparent plastic cubes.

Beehive - Smethport 1978
(Smethport is responsible for the well-known "Wooly Willy" toy of 1955 - paint an iron-filing beard on a face using a magnetic wand.)

This is "The Brain" from a German company. Reiss released the same puzzle (their number 350) in a larger size and called it "Brainchild."

Two puzzles from Nasta (circa 1990) - "Trap 0" - move the ball to the other side of the partition. In the other, get one ball on each side of the partition.

Drop Out and Outer Limits by Mag-Nif
In Drop-Out, navigate the ball across a maze avoiding pitfalls. In Outer Limits, get one ball to each of the four corners.

Mag-Nif Levitation
1971 #238-200
Get the ball onto the center of the pedestal. Yes, I solved it!

Mag-Nif Op-1
1974 #261-200

Mag-Nif Woodn't Center
1974 #409-350
Get the ball onto the pedestal. Will the two loose wooden triangles help?

Tricky Fingers
Two trays for competition, each containing colored balls and with a grid of holes in the bottom. By pushing the balls with your fingers via the holes, arrange them into various specified patterns.

The Original Spot Game - Skor Mor. Cover a spot with five disks. Combines the puzzle of how to arrange the disks to accomplish that, with the dexterity feat of dropping them in exactly the right places.

The Frustration Ball by Remco is a fairly well-known collectible. A series of cups are affixed facing inwards within a hollow transparent sphere. Tilt the sphere in an effort to transfer a ball bearing inside from cup to cup. Very frustrating - hence the name. Note to self - try not to hurl it in a fit - remember, it's a collectible!

Babe the Pig
Universal Studios movie tie-in
Get five sheep in the pasture facing the right way, and close the gate.

Cross Match
Get the matching color marbles showing through each of the colored windows. There are four windows on each side, colored blue, yellow, red, and green. On the reverse side the window colors are switched N-S and E-W. There are six marbles: white, red, black, green, yellow, and blue.

Es-Kapade Dice

Adco No. 365

Double Dare - Transogram 1969

Orbit - Shelcore 1987
Uses a mirror similar to the Nervous Breakdown series.
Others in this series (I don't have): Zapped, Double Cross, Roto Maze

This "Ball-in-ball-in-ball" puzzle is from Hungary. Find and align the correct holes in the three nested hollow spheres so that the enclosed marble will come out.
Similar nested sphere puzzles are made in China from carved jade or plastic - there is no internal marble, but the objective is to align all the holes among the nested spheres.

A French dexterity puzzle called L'Enervant. Get the marble into the center detent.

Quoits - get the three colored rings onto their corresponding posts. Will a magnet help?

Sculpture Puzzle - issued by Four Generations 1971

The instructions say, "The object of the puzzle is to drop the small ball on to the large sphere in such a manner that it will jump into the small hole. You must then retrieve the small sphere without moving the block in any way."

The first part seems to demand that the small ball enter the block via the small hole, not the other end hollowed out for the large sphere. That feat would seem to require quite some manual dexterity, if not also a large helping of luck. Although a strict reading does not require the large sphere to be positioned in any particular place such as the socket it came in...

The second part is a stumper. The holes connect at right angles - dropping the small ball in from either direction does not cause it to simply pop out the opposite end no matter which way I have oriented the block. Notice that you must not MOVE the block - but the instructions do not prohibit one from TOUCHING the block. If you drop the ball in the small hole, with the block in its "normal" position - I have found there IS a way to get it out without moving the block (or tilting the table its on). Can you figure it out without me saying?

As far as getting the ball in the hole in the first place - I am inclined to think this is a straight dexterity feat.

There is no patent, though it does say copyright 1971. I wonder who designed this?

Revolutions by Four Generations of Sebastopol, CA. Copyright 1971.

Oscillate the block so that the two marbles each in their separate grooves will rotate in opposite directions.

ADDENDUM: In July of 2012 I was contacted by Richard Zbinden, who told me he designed both the Sculpture Puzzle, and Revolutions. He owned the company Four Generations. Richard confirmed that the way to remove the marble is [mouse over and highlight the following text for a SPOILER]: to either blow it out from the top or use the large bearing to knock it out by hitting the back of the block. He also confirmed that getting the small ball in the hole in the first place is a straight-up pure dexterity feat. If you drop the ball at just the right distance, in just the right location, the ball will bounce up and fall into the hole.

Richard told me that the company Four Generations existed during the 60's for about five or six years. They manufactured several wooden puzzles and games. The factory eventually burned to the ground and he tried to continue in a rented facility in Sebastopol California but in the end had to file for bankruptcy.

In April of 2021 I was contacted by DJ Alperovitz, who informed me that he worked at Four Generations for most of its life, from setting up shop through 1970, and that the lead designer was Michael Garcia. Thanks for another small glimpse into the history of these puzzles!

An unnamed wooden pigs-in-clover style puzzle.

Aqua Drop - Bandai
The inside surface seems to be made from a hydrophobic plastic - the bead of water runs around like mercury!

Rubik's 360
A gift from Brett. Thanks!
Labritation - by Mag-Nif 1975
A vintage dexterity puzzle - guide the ball through the maze
without dropping into a pitfall.

1964 Tilt-n-Roll dexterity puzzle by Milton Bradley
Move a ball along a track that spans both sides of each end, avoiding the holes along the way.
(It's big - that's a U.S. Quarter coin.)

Roll Up! Roll Up! - designed by Simon Bexfield
Exchanged by Simon at IPP29 in San Francisco
I purchased this copy from Jeff Aurand for the Australian Flood Relief Auction
Seems like a well-made version of the "Pick-Me-Up" or "Upsy-Downsy" spiral ramp design, but if you manage to get the ball up the ramp, you'll discover another challenge beyond your coordination. The bottom of the puzzle depicts a Rebus and two rotating dials. Hmmmm.

The Atom Trap - a vintage 1969 dexterity puzzle from the Franco-American Novelty Company of NYC.
The transparent hollow egg contains a divider panel having two holes, and is filled with a bunch of styrofoam beads. The objective is to move the beads all to one side of the panel or the other - but the beads acquire a static charge when the egg is shaken, and hilarity ensues as they fail to cooperate.

Shoot the Moon - a classic dexterity game/puzzle.
Place the large ball bearing at the far end of the pair of rods. Carefully move the rods apart to get the ball to roll "uphill" towards you. Drop the ball in as close a hole as possible for the highest score.

A classic Labyrinth dexterity game/puzzle.
Place the ball bearing in the maze at the start position. Using two knobs that control the tilt of the surface along the X and Y axes, navigate the ball as far as possible towards the end and avoid all intermediate holes.

Spacemen Jiggle Puzzle issued by Comon Tatar 1957.
One of a series of several puzzles in this style issued by Comon Tatar.

Loncraine Broxton's Crazy Maze Series

Loncraine Broxton (part of the Lagoon Group) offers a series of "The Ultimate Crazy Maze" rolling ball dexterity puzzles. They are very difficult.

Here is the original series of 1 through 6, plus recent additions 7 and 8 (which supposedly replace 2 and 6).
The individual puzzles don't have names as far as I know - here they are shown in order left to right, top to bottom:
  1. a "target"
  2. a curvy swastika
  3. a square maze with diagonals
  4. a square at 45 degrees
  5. a circular maze
  6. a V and inverted V
  7. four inward pointing arrows
  8. a star

Thanks to John Furda of Australia for alerting me to the existence of numbers 7 and 8 and about the obsolescence of numbers 2 and 6.

The puzzles came with black or gray plastic backgrounds - examples shown here.

A gift from fellow collector Colin James, who says this is an alternative form of No. 4.

The original set was also re-issued with colorful backgrounds.
(I don't have these.)

Four larger puzzles have been issued: Circuit, Invader, Cyclops, and Multi-Maze.
(I only have Cyclops and Multi-Maze.)

Three "Mega-Maze" puzzles have been issued.
(I have Mega-Maze Titan.)


The Nervous Breakdown Series

As with many dexterity puzzles, in the series of Nervous Breakdown puzzles (Kohner 1968), you must tilt steel balls into various receptacles. The twist here is that the playing field is upside down, flat across the top of the puzzle box, and you are looking at it via a mirror that makes it appear vertical against the back. The arrangement is kind of like a periscope. The top of the box is translucent so the field is well lit from "behind." The view through the mirror makes the balls seem weightless, and it is difficult to get used to how to tilt the puzzle to make the balls go where you need them to go!

Some of the puzzles appeared in black casings, others in yellow casings. The "Planets" version is clearly stamped "Nervous Breakdown (c) 1968 Kohner Bros. Inc. Made in USA Pat Pend " in the plastic. Some of these were also offered in Gabriel packaging under the "Up the Wall" moniker. I don't know what others there might be.

The series includes:
  • 7972A - shelves with cups
  • 7972B - houses
  • 7972C - clown with balloons
  • 7972D - clown face
  • 7972E - Tic-Tac-Toe
  • 7972F - test tubes
  • ??? - Tic-Tac-Toe (alt. version, yellow casing)
  • ??? - planets (1968, Kohner, yellow casing - reuse of balloons)
  • ??? - Sharks - yellow casing - reuse of test tubes

Here are shots of the backgrounds:

I found what I believe to be another member of the series.
This version features a rocket background, but the case is more narrow than the others in the series.

Also, based on the photo below (of items I do not own), the Nervous Breakdown puzzles had been distributed as "cartridges" along with a single mirrored base unit.

Reiss Games Inc.

In the 1970's, Reiss Games Inc. (a subsidiary of National Paragon Corp.) offered several dexterity puzzles in their Shock Absorbers, Hand Shakers, and Nerve Wrackers series. These are probably my favorite dexterity puzzles - I enjoyed them as a kid, and most of them are actually possible to solve without too much difficulty.

The Romany Merchandise Corp. seems to have issued duplicates of the Shock Absorbers line, but under different names.

The Shock Absorbers are "a squad of racy little puzzles to rally with." They include:
  • #301 Idle (has an alt. version)
  • #302 Hubcap (has an alt. version)
  • #303 Points
  • #304 4 Barrel (has an alt. version)
  • #305 Clutch
  • #306 U Joint (has an alt. version)
Each of the Nerve Wrackers is "A zany little puzzle that will unnerve you." They include:
  • #391 Fidget
  • #392 Jumpy
  • #393 Antsy
  • #394 Jitter
  • #395 Queasy
  • #396 Quiver
Each of the Toughies is "A tough little trick to figure out." "We're a group of little tricks just waiting to be figured out. Play with me and I promise you a good time." (It seems to me as though they tried, via the names and slogans, to incorporate some innuendo into the marketing pitch.) They include:
  • Candy
  • Gypsie
  • Bubbles
  • Trixie
  • Peaches
  • Fannie

Alternate versions of some of the puzzles have appeared under the same name. Bold means I have one. Others are included for reference.

1974 No. 301-200
also alt. version
not solved

1977 No. 302

Hubcap - alternate version
1974 No. 302-200

1974 No. 303-200

1977 No. 304

4Barrel - alternate version

1974 No. 305-200

U Joint - #306

U Joint alt. version #306
not solved - tough!

U Joint also appeared as "Candy"
Style #3306 Copyright 1974 by the Romany Merchanidise Corp.

Hand Shakers set
Idle, Hubcap, Points, Clutch,
and the alt. U-Joint
(I don't have this.)

alt. Hand Shakers set
Idle, Hubcap (alt. version), Points, Clutch, and U-Joint.

1976 No. 391

1976 #392
not solved

1976 No. 393

No. 394

No. 395
Achieve the state shown -
all balls around the perimeter.

1976 No. 396

1976 No. 371

1976 No. 372

The Badge and The Square
Two Magnetic Puzzle Up Games, dexterity challenges copyright 1979 by Reiss Games Inc.
Each comes with a magnetic wand, to be used to correctly stack the steel balls inside the plastic domes.

Pick-It-Out and Pluck-Em

Using only the fingers of one hand, pick the ball out of the cup. My kids have no trouble, but adults are often stumped. There is a "trick" solution involving an unusual way of gripping the ball. The vintage set from Adams includes a similar puzzle called the "Sambo Puzzle" - remove the ball from Sambo's mouth. Also included is a classic called the "Dipsy Ball Puzzle" - get one ball into each end of the cradle. The flower-shaped version is "Pick It Out" from a vintage tangle set.
This is a racier version of the same idea - pluck the two balls from their sockets. Two versions, white and black plastic. I bought the white one from the grandson of the founder of the Adams Company.

Lift Off - Thinkfun
A modern version of the same concept - or is it?

Careful [De-]Construction Puzzles

I use this subclass to group puzzles which call for great care to be employed to either construct a pile, or to deconstruct a pile, without disturbing the bulk of the pile in the process.

This is the Pyramid Puzzle by Loncraine Broxton. You are to build a pyramid having a 3x3 base with the 14 steel ball bearings, using a magnetic wand that allows you to pick up and release them. A base with a 3x3 grid of very shallow detents is provided. Twitch even a micrometer, and hilarity ensues :-)

I've had this Parker Brothers Jack Straws game since I was a kid. A nice version of the classic "Pick Up Sticks," with detailed small models of various implements such as a sword, ladder, crutch, and saw. Dump the pieces in a pile, then try to remove the pieces one by one without disturbing the rest of the pile. Can be played alone or in competition. A true test of dexterity as well as one's powers of inspection.

The Barrel of Monkeys is a classic dexterity feat which is usually played as a competetive game among youngsters.
See U.S. Patent 3414265 - Marks 1968

Equilibrium - construct the free-standing mobile sculpture, balancing the marbles. A gift from Brett.
The Architest Spiral Stair puzzle requires you to build a spiral staircase around a central spindle, cantilevering the quarter-circle shaped steps.
It was issued in 1987 by architect Tim Leefeldt.

The Puzzles of Robert Journet

This section covers vintage dexterity puzzles by R. Journet.

Neil Adams, of Cornwall, England, is a collector of Journet puzzles. I purchased from Neil a copy of a poster he made showing the Journet puzzles in his collection. Neil told me he is unaware of any published definitive lists or books about the Journet line. However, in January of 2006 an original pre-war trade catalogue auctioned for $1136. I did not win that, but I was able to acquire a pamphlet by James Dalgety entitled "R. Journet & Company, A Brief History of the Company & its Puzzles."

Neil provided me some history: "Robert Journet started a toy shop in 1878 in Paddington. His father hand-made the first puzzles circa 1891. The business did not really get going until 1918 when they attended a British Industries fair and many sales were made to the U.S.A. Robert died in the 1930's and his son Frederick took over the business and expanded it, picking up many advertising orders, and kept it going until he sold it in 1965 to Abbey Corinthian Games who produced puzzles from 1966 until some time in the 1970's."

Frank Potts has an extensive Journet collection, shown online.

Here are some of the Journet puzzles I have collected:

No. 102 Whirlpool

No. 68 Ringtail Cat

No. 97 Pondsnag

No. 64 Pin-U-Ringit

(No #) The Merry Toast

No. 84 Pigs in Clover

(No #) Foxhunt

(No #) Harlequin

No. 67 Golden Rod

(No #) Double Six

No. 75 Beehive

No. 92 Divers

(No #) Lucky Seven

(No #) Television

No. 91 Discuss

(No #) Geometrical

No. 94 Turnstile

No. 109 Cog Wheel

No. 104 Motorist

No. 114 Pigybak

No. 79 Aero

No. 108 Queen Mary

No. 95 Slippery Slabs

No. 98 Alice in Puzzleland

(No #) Golf

No. 101 Speech Day

No. 57 Dovecote

No. 76 Rocky Mountains

No. 61 Diabolical Tubes

No. 69 Balansit

No. 70 Kanuduit

No. 50 Bowling Green

No. 99 Four Cones

No. 66 Niagara

No. 80 Rabbits in Corn

No. 56 Twirlywirly

No. 63 Clock

No. 72 Radio (wide version)

No. 60 Wiggle Woggle

No. 112 Road Sign

No. 58 Bagatelle

No. 88 Furrows

No. 51 See-Saw

No. 73 Pootles the Pup

No. 74 Tumbleumin

No. 72 Radio (tall version)

No. 86 The Brooch
I was pleased to find this, being one of the rarer ones, in good shape.

Then I found another!

No. 90 The Rainbow Puzzle


R. Journet Puzzle Checklist

This section is intended to serve as a "checklist" for Journet collectors. Coming up with this while having limited access to documentation on the Journet line was a challenging but enjoyable exercise in detective work. The puzzles used to have a list on their backs assigning name and number (starting at 50) to the various puzzles in the Journet lineup, but this was replaced with an alliterative advertising slogan. I compiled this based on information from Neil, from the poster Neil issued, and from various pictures of the backs of Journet puzzles which had lists rather than the slogan - many of which were frustratingly difficult to read. In the end I was able to check the list against a pamphlet I acquired by James Dalgety entitled "R. Journet & Company, A Brief History of the Company & its Puzzles" and cleared up the last of the question marks I had. The results of my sleuthing turned out pretty accurate!

Different color versions of many of the puzzles are available, as well as variants with different numbers of balls and even mercury instead of balls. I have no idea how many different variations of each puzzle Journet made, but here are pictures of almost all the different basic puzzles, followed by the checklist.

(I collected the photos from various places on the web and while the layout here does not permit me to properly attribute each one, I am certainly grateful to the owners of the images.)

  1. Bowling Greena
  2. See-Sawa
  3. Lucky Horse Shoea
  4. Gazeekaa
  5. Bunniesa
  6. Spider and Fliesa
  7. Twirlywirlya
  8. Dovecotea
  9. Bagatellea
  10. Subwaya *
  11. Wiggle Wogglea
  12. Diabolical Tubesa
  13. Mayblox (MacMahon Cubes 1892 patent)
  14. Clocka
  15. Pin-u-ringita
  16. Whirligiga
  17. Niagaraa *
  18. Golden Roda
  19. Ringtail Cata
  20. Balansita
  21. Kanuduita
  22. Brahmaa (eq. to Towers of Hanoi)
  23. Radioa
  24. Pootles the Pupa
  25. Tumbleumina
  26. Beehivea
  27. Rocky Mountains *
  28. Honeycomba
  29. Phlipemina *
  30. Aeroa
  1. Rabbits in Corna
  2. Snake Charmer
  3. Conger Eel *
  4. Elusive Picture (3 vars)
    (also Jig Saw Puzzle Picture)
  5. Pigs in Clovera
  6. Waveletsa
  7. Broocha *
  8. Dumb-bellsa *
  9. Furrowsa *
  10. Beads and Balls
  11. Rainbowa
  12. Discussa
  13. Diversa
  14. Titan-Hica
  15. Turnstilea
  16. Slippery Slabsa
  17. Three Hacksa
  18. Pondsnaga
  19. Alice in Puzzlelanda
  20. Four Conesa
  21. Look-Outa
  22. Speech Daya
  23. Whirlpoola
  24. Beacona
  25. Motorista
  26. Dressing the Dandya
  27. Rolabala
  28. Air Raida
  29. Queen Marya
  30. Cogwheela
  1. Mousera
  2. Stork
  3. Road Signa
  4. Jugglesa
  5. Pigybaka


    Not numbered:

  • Merry Toasta
  • Fox Hunta
  • Harlequina
  • Double Sixa
  • Lucky Sevena
  • Television (Rowing)a
  • Television - 5 other vars
  • Geometricala
  • Blighty * (like Kanuduit)
  • Golfa (lidless modern)

    Large format in boxes:

  • Rafie's Rollicking Trip to Berlina (1939?)
  • George VI Coronation 1937a
    Willie's Walk to see the Coronation
  • Elizabeth II Coronation 1953a
    Willie's Walk to see the Coronation
  • Silver Bullet Golf
  • Silver Bullet Scenic (jigsaw, 2 vars)
    Others, incl. Non-Dexterity:

  • Rampant Lion (16 squares dissection)
  • Mystic Four (sliding counters)
  • Cross (dissection)
  • Geomet (fit cork thru 3 holes)
  • Magic Squares (5 dissected squares)
  • Multum in Parvo
  • The Original 15
  • Peek-a-boo - a trick cigar cutter - might be AKA Bashful Lock - "I will open behind your back"
  • Spoophem
    ( pat 1913 - 1st centrifugal
    , eq. to All Uphill)


  • 1927 Tumbleumup
  • Balky Basket Ball
  • Bear Pit
  • Catch the Rabbit
  • Checkers
  • Chinese (like Tangrams)
  • Circular
  • In the Pen
  • Knot
  • Phit Em In
  • Rat Trap
  • Skidoo
  • The 26
  • Thimble Fingers
  • Zig Zag

a means it is on the Adams poster. Bold means there is a pic above. Italics means I have one.

There were also 12 puzzles produced in a 3 inch square format for F.W. Woolworth (I don't have any):

  • Green-Eyed Kitty
  • Lucky Threea
  • Tree of Successa
  • Jagger's
  • Safety First
  • Obstinate Donkeysa
  • Jolly Roger
  • Hand-Some
  • Swastika
  • Magnetic
  • Cupit
  • Eclipse

Journet also produced some advertising promotions (I don't have any):

Non-Journet Boxes

The designs in this set of six boxes put out by Gilbert are very similar to Journet designs, and include a Cogwheel, a Radio, a begging Pup, and a Cat.

Give It Wings - jiggle until you've attached the wings to the fuselage.

Get the Dionne Quintuplets in the carriage.

"The Rainbow Puzzle" - a vintage dexterity challenge by Montauk Specialties Co. of Chicago Ill., also found one with its original package. It's similar to "Jumpy" by Reiss.

A vintage French boxed puzzle, Porte du Diable.

Japanese copy of Phlipemin

Japanese copy of Rabbits in Corn

Another vintage dexterity puzzle, the Jungle Puzzle

Lucky Seven (I solved it!)
from Puzzle Crafthouse (Thanks, Dave!):

A set of small vintage wooden deterity puzzles, made in Japan

Zig Zag - a vintage dexterity puzzle.

L'Eclipse de Lune - repro of a vintage French Boxed dexterity puzzle,
copyright 1984 by Franz-Josef Holler, Munich.
Shake the three black pieces to cover the face of the Moon.
I like this one since it is not too difficult.

Melissa & Doug have issued a series of colorful dexterity puzzle boxes they call "Pocket Mazes." I have some, in bold. Will they one day be as sought-after as the Journets?

Bubble Burst

Castle Rescue

Crazy Commute

Going Up


Lighthouse Rally

Log Jam

Meteor Maze


Snake Slide

Tricky Train

Water Works

IPP32 Mini-Perplexus, designed by Michael McGinnis, made by Shapeways, exchanged by Tanya Thompson at IPP32
Michael is one of the inventors of Perplexus, nee Superplexus.

Bottles and Glass

There are several dexterity puzzles in bottles or in glass tubes.

Wil's Magic Bottle (Ishi)

Eureka Bottle #1

Eureka Bottle #2

Eureka Bottle #3
Combines dexterity with
a hidden-mechanism piece.

Jacob's Revenge

This glass tube contains 3 metal pellets (swan shot) - get one into each detent. It appears in Hoffmann on page 9, as No. XII - The Switchback. From the Steve Merritt collection.

Not sure what this is called, but the object is to get a single bubble in the middle bulb.

P Puzzle
"Can you put the pea in the pot?"
Have a look at U.S. Patent 775695 - Young 1904

Exchange, designed, made, and exchanged at IPP32 by Wil Strijbos