Mention "Puzzles" to many people and their thoughts just go to Jigsaws and Rubik Cubes missing the vast range of objects that have been teaching post Industrial Revolution children the art of Problem Solving for the past 250 years.

An INDEX OF PUZZLES featured in past months sorted by PUZZLE CLASS.
This will act as an Introduction and Guide to the broad range of Mechanical Puzzles
and how they are Classified.

last update 2018-03-27 1923
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THE TABLE of PUZZLES of the month sorted by PUZZLE CLASS.

CLASS
abbreviations

CLASS DEFINITIONS
& example puzzles

Examples
 

N.B. Every main class includes these two special subclasses: OTHER (-OTH) for puzzles that will not easily fit into the other sub-classes and RELATED (-REL) for non-puzzle but closely related objects.

AMB AMBIGUOUS PICTURES & PUZZLING OBJECTS (AMB) in which something appears impossible or ambiguous.
AMB-ARCH Archimboldesque Objects Pictures and objects of one subject made up from unrelated images or objects.
Archimboldesque Portrait  
Oval Box  
AMB-HIDD Hidden Image Pictures (no manipulation required) Devinettes (obscure outlines), "Spot the Difference", Random Dot Stereograms
Ha! Ha! I've Eaten the Manx Cat!  
Tonbeau du Roi Martyr  
French Devinette Plate  
AMB-HMAN Hidden Image Pictures (Manipulation Required) "Naughty Butterflys", "Find the 5th Pig", Needing coloured overlays, Soot on unglazed part of ashtray
  awaiting example  
AMB-DIST Distortions Anamorphic pictures
Anamorphic Portrait of King Charles I  
AMB-ILLU Perception Illusions Optical Illusions, Weight Illusions
Is this Rabbit a Duck  
AMB-POBJ Paradoxical Objects (Objects that apparently cannot be made) Arrow through bottle, Impossible Dovetails, Oskar's "Escher Puzzle", Penrose triangles.
Staffordshire puzzle pipe.  
Impossible Playing Card Olympics 2012  
The Mysterieuse Pocket Watch.  
Ships in Bottles. Harry Eng  
Nine Nested Bottles  
AMB-TURN Pictures that require turning to show different images.  
Gladstone Donkey Vesta  
Fourfold Happiness and Joy  
News from the War  
AMB-VANI Vanishing images or areas. Hoopers Paradox.  
John Bull's Bobs Vanishing Puzzle  
     
AMB-REL AMBIGUOUS-RELATED  
Metamorphic Swan to Dog  
ASS ASSEMBLY PUZZLES (ASS) (NON-INTERLOCKING) require the arrangement of separate pieces to make specific shapes without regard to the sequence of that placing, they may clip together but do not interlock in 3D. Some have a container and are posed as packing problems.
ASS-CART Assembly of Cartesian Parts Pentominoes, Checkerboards, Polycubes, Soma, "Hoffman" cube,  "Managon", "Even Steven", Squashed Soma, Laker Cube
Mayer's Cube  
3 cubed + 4 cubed + 5 cubed = 6 cubed  
Nobman Puzzle made by Toyo Glass  
T.H.O'Beirnes Cube  
ASS-OTH Assembly of other shapes Pack the Plums, Apple & Worms, "Phoney Baloney", Gears
Early Printing Stool Puzzle.  
Geapple Puzzle  
Toy Fort is a puzzle  
Office in a Box  
Olympic Puzzles 1  
Porridge Pot on the Fire"  
Round 21 Disk Packing Puzzle competition  
ASS-POLY Assembly Polyhedra & Spheres Ball Pyramids
Stereometry Made Easy  
ASS-STRA Straight Edge/Face Non-cartesian Tangram, T-puzzle, Triangular & Hexagonal polyominoes, 9-piece ivory cube
1817 The First European Tangram.  
     
Napoleon Tangram Puzzle  
Fit a square tangram in a round hole  
Geometrical Recreations in 15 pieces  
DEX DEXTERITY PUZZLES (DEX) require the use of manual dexterity or other physical skills in their solution.
DEX-BALL Dexterity. Plain Balls into holes Pentangle "Roly-Poly" puzzles
The British Lion Puzzle  
Blisters - Inexpensive Puzzle Collecting  
Milton Keynes the new city for 1967  
A fake antique  
DEX-INLQ Dexterity in Liquid Water-filled puzzles
Toyo's Spirit Leveler Puzzle  
Wilbur Wright Puzzle  
DEX-LQOB Liquid objects Mercury manipulation
Dolly-Kwiz Greater Panama Canal Puzzle  
DEX-MECH Mechanised Decterities. most Tomy's "Pocketeers"
Tomy Pocketeer Puzzle  
DEX-MIRR Indirect viewing by mirror. Kohner's "Nervous Breakdown"
Find the North Pole mirror puzzle  
DEX-OBST Dexterity with sundry obstacles &/or objects Ramps - bridges - jumping beans - etc.
Gas Masks to Puzzles  
Passive resisters to the 1902 Education Act  
DEX-OTH Other Dexterities Pneumatic operation
Silver Bullet Scenic Puzzle  
Krazy Kar Automobile Puzzle  
The Jolly Vagabond and the Policeman  
Port Arthur Puzzles from the Russian-Japanese War Battleship Fort  
Eiffel Tower Puzzle  
South African dexterity puzzle with railways fords and kraal huts  
The League of Nations. Leave or Remain  
The Spanish Trocha in Cuba  
Cosmolink - The Psycho-Kinetic Puzzle  
DEX-PITF Path to follow without falling in traps Silver Bullet
Yiddle from World War One  
R.Journet Educational Game - The Sea  
Sky Pirates - Zeppelin Puzzle  
Stanley's March to Kavalli  
The North Pole Game  
Gallipoli Landings Puzzles  
DEX-RTFL Route following where the Dexterity greatly outweighs the Routefinding. Superplexus puzzle
Crippen Chase Hamiltonian Puzzle  
Superplexus Puzzle  
DEX-HIDD Objects concealed from view Four Generations "Ball in Block", Engel's "Black Box"
     
DEX-ELEC Electrical & Electronic Dexterities Nombrex's "Crosso" 1950s, Nintendo "Game & Watch - Vermin" 1980
Nombrex's "Crosso"  
DEX-PINB Pinball related dexterities Bagatelle
     
     
DEX-TOOL Using tools & magnetic tools Adam's 1940s "Fantom Puzzlers", Ayer's "Suffragette Puzzle"
Women's Suffrage Puzzle 1906  
DEX-UNCA Uncased Dexterities Cup & Ball, "Le Pendu", "Theo der Turnier", Tomy's "Crazy Maze", Puzzles using Tops
Tipsy Toff  
FOL FOLDING & HINGED PUZZLES (FOL) have parts that are joined together and usually do not come apart. They are solved by hinging, flexing, or folding.
FOL-HGCL Hinged Parts in Closed chain Flexagons, Rubik's "Magic", "Flexicube"
Twiddle word puzzle"  
FOL-HGOP Folding Hinged parts in Open chain Rubik's "Snake", Strung Cubes, Clinch Cube
FOL-OTH Other Folding Puzzles  
FOL-SHEE Folding sheets & strips Map Folding, "Jail Nixon", strip polyhedra
Frederickson's Decagon to Pentagram  
FOL-SPRI Folding Springy wire and strips "Why Knots", Mobius Strips
Moebius Strip Puzzle  
     
     
INT INTERLOCKING PUZZLES (INT) interlock in three dimensions, i.e. one or more pieces hold the rest together, or the pieces are mutually self-sustaining. Many clip together puzzles are "non-interlocking".
INT-CART Cartesian (Internal Parts along 3 mutually perpendicular axes) Burrs, Cutler's Burr in a glass, most plastic keychains, JWIP,  "Nine of Swords"
Puzzle Rattle from the Crimean War  
Mongolian Burr Puzzles  
Ninomiya's Boxed Cage Puzzle  
24 Piece Burr in Engine Turned Ivory  
Six-Piece Burr  
Tramp work Table  
Puzzle Ball  
Bone Puzzle by Napoleonic prisoner  
INT-BOX Boxes that disassemble Stickman's "Borg Box", Strijbos Aluminium Burr Box
     
INT-OTH Other Interlocking Shapes "Tak-it-Apart", "Plato's Plight"
Michelin Men and their Machines  
Adriano Mini by Miguel Berrocal  
MoonPi 3D Printed Puzzle  
Bell's Keychain Puzzle Piano  
Packets to Fans and Frames  
Bon Ton Laundry Puzzle  
Three Olympic Puzzles by Miguel Berrocal  
INT-POLY Interlocking Polyhedral & other non-cartesian geometric shapes. Coffin's "Saturn", Squashed burrs
The Sphinx  
Eduard Bakalar - Plato's Secret  
Scott's Enigma  
Pentapod 3D printed puzzles  
INT-REL INTERLOCKING- Related -
Puzzle Book Rests  
JIG JIGSAW PUZZLES (JIG) are made as if cut or stamped into pieces from a single complete object, and the principle objective is to restore them to their unique original form.
JIG-OTH Other jigsaws Stave variable picture, "Toyznet", Bilhourd's incomplete surfaces
Van Houten's Hot Chocolate Puzzle  
A Puzzle House  
A CHAMPAGNE PUZZLE  
Puzzle Globe Nuremberg 1800s  
Silver Bullet Scenic puzzles  
Partridge in a Pear Tree  
Puzzle Globe1927 by Geographic Educators  
JIG-REL JIGSAW- related  
A Puzzle Nut  
Healy Pictorial Completion Test  
JIG-STD Standard Jigsaws Can include double sided puzzles, & jigsaws with holes & gaps
Eurograph jigsaw of World War I trenches  
Vera Jigsaw Puzzle Ivory jigsaw  
Monkeypuzzle multi layered jigsaw puzzles  
   
Wooden 3D Jigsaws
JIG-SLOP Jigsaws with non perpendicular/sloping cuts "Broken Heart", Japanese "Sabre Tooth Tiger"
     
JIG-LAYR JIG-LAYR Multiple layer Jigsaws Transparent Escher jigsaw
     
JIG-IDEN Jigsaws with identical pieces "Shmuzzles", Ceramic hexagons, Picture Cubes & Blocks
     
JUG JUGS & VESSELS (JUG) have a mechanical puzzle or trick in their construction that affects the filling, pouring or drinking therefrom.
JUG- STD Puzzle Vessels standard (built-in tubes to suck) -
Zsolnay Puzzle Jug and Whistle  
William Baron's Radioactive Puzzle Jug  
     
     
JUG- BASE JUG-BASE Vessels that pour from Base. Jolly Jugs, Thrift Cups
Pour from base Puzzle Jug  
JUG-NLID Lidless Vessels (fill from base) Cadogan Teapots, Chinese winepots
Cadogan Teapots and Chinese Wine Pots  
JUG-OTH Other vessels Royale's "Self-Pouring" Patent,  Spoutless winepots (hydraulic seal)
Venetian Glass Puzzle Bowl  
     
JUG-CPLX Complex Vessels requiring special manipulation Gemma Patent 2006, Combination JUG-STD/JUG-BASE
Crested China Puzzle Jugs and other Vessels  
     
OPN OPENING & EXTRACTION PUZZLES (OPN) are puzzles in which the principle object is to open it, close it, undo it, remove something from it, or otherwise get it to work. They usually comprise a single object or associated parts such as a box with its lid, a padlock and its hasp, or a nut & bolt. The mechanism of the puzzle is not usually apparent, nor do they involve general assembly or disassembly of parts that interlock in 3D.
OPN-BOX Opening Containers Boxes, Purses
72 move secret puzzle box  
Sorrento Book Boxes  
17th Century Sun & Moon Puzzle Snuff Box  
Arthur Simpson Puzzle Box  
Balkan Puzzle  
Ne Plus Ultra Puzzle Match-Safe or Vesta  
Iwahara's Trinary Box  
Boxwood mechanical puzzle box  
The Vault Puzzle  
Miniature Michel Mann Armada Chest  
OPN-HIDD Opening/finding Hidden Compartments not originally designed as puzzles Chippendale Tea-Chests, Poison Rings.
The Scannavini Puzzle Cabinet  
Mystery Folk Art Puzzle Box  
  Mystery Folk Art Puzzle Box  
The Angel Box  
Snuff Ball Puzzle  
OPN-LOCK Opening Locks Padlocks
17th Century Cupid and Lion-skin Casket  
Antique Brass Fish Puzzle Padlock  
OPN-OTH Opening other objects Nut & Bolt, Knives, Pens, Cutlery, Oskar's Keys, Oskar's "Dovetail", "Hazelgrove Box"
Ornamental Turned "Find the Queen" puzzle  
Florrie Taylor's Tank 1918  
Cutlery Set  
Strijbos Red Egg Puzzles  
OTH OTHER TYPES OF MECHANICAL PUZZLES & OBJECTS. (OTH) This group is for puzzle objects that do not easily fall into the main categories and cannot be categorised into sufficiently large groups to warrant their own major class. Included in this group are Balancing, Measuring, Cutting, Math, Logic, Trick, Mystery, & Theoretical puzzles. Also provision is made for puzzles pending classification.
OTH-BAL Balancing (non-dexterity) "Columbus Egg"
Magic Balancing Egg  
OTH-ELEC Electrical & Electronic (non-dexterity) -
Nombrex - Electronic Noughts and Crosses  
OTH-MATH Mathematical Puzzles (excluding number pattern arrangements) -  
Perry's 21 Puzzle  
OTH-MYST Objects whose function or material is a mystery Wotsits, Creteco spacers
Puzzle Napkin Ring  
Puzzling piece of Potting  
OTH-PEND PENDING CLASSIFICATION !! Puzzles awaiting classification
Brass & Copper Chessboard puzzle.  
Four-way Fan  
Puzzles for Dogs  
Boat of Bits  
OTH-SET Sets of Puzzles of Mixed Type Compendiums of mixed type puzzles
New & Ingenious Puzzles by John Jaques & Son  
Columbian Exposition - Lost puzzles from Saharanpore  
Chinese Puzzle Compendium  
Ackermann River Crossing Turks and Christians.  
The Children's Encyclopedia WONDER BOX  
OTH-TRIK Trick or Catch Puzzles (solution needs subterfuge) "Infernal Bottle", Some magic tricks
Samson Mystery Pig Puzzle  
   
OTH-WORD Puzzles applied to objects, the puzzle more usually found printed on paper Rebus, Anagrams, Riddles,  Crosswords, Etc. (on Plates, Jugs, Loo Paper, etc.)
Puzzle challenge by Johnson Jeweler of Dublin  
PARK'S TWELFTH NIGHT CHARACHTERS  
Ne Plus Ultra Puzzle Match-Safe or Vesta  
Caroline Mary Peachey's 1804 riddle sampler  
1809 Handheld Fire Screens  
Hieroglyphic Letters in Watercolour  
Le Pays des Rebus  
John Leech's Puzzle Pictures  
Happy Winter Solstice 2012  
Word Counting Puzzle  
Staffordshire Pottery Riddle Jug  
Peruvian Quipo  
OTH-MEAS Measuring & Weighing Puzzles Jugs & Liquids, 12 Golf Balls, Archimedes Gold
John Bull's Store - A puzzle of Pecks  
OTH-CUT Cutting Puzzles Cork for 3 Holes, Five Squares Puzzle
The Five Squares Puzzle  
OTH-LOGI Logic Puzzles Cartoon pictures to arrange in order
     
OTH-MAGI Magic & Conjuring Puzzles Self-working magic tricks
     
OTH-VIRT Puzzles whose existence is only theoretically possible. Such as 4d puzzles, or those which can ONLY  be represented on a computer
     
PAT PATTERN PUZZLES (PAT) require the placing or arrangement of separate pieces of a similar nature to complete surface patterns according to defined rules. The pattern required may be the matching of edges of squares, faces of cubes, etc. The pattern may be colour, texture, shape, etc. Where the pattern is due to differences in shape they must be sufficiently minor not to obscure the similarity of the pieces.
PAT-STIX Patterns of sticks Match Puzzles, Jensen's "Tricky Laberint"
     
PAT-EDGE Matching Edges &/or Corner  patterns Heads & Tails, "Dodeca", Macmahon squares
Prize Puzzle Royal International Life-Boat Institution  
PAT-NUMB Arrangements of Number Patterns Magic Squares, Number Puzzles
Magic Square  
Magic Squares by Jaques 1852  
Blind Abbess and her Nuns - Manuscript 1865  
PAT-OTH Other Pattern puzzles Oskar's "Solar System"
Jolikin by Milty Products Salford  
PAT-SIMI Pattern arrangements of similar, points, pegs, or pieces according to predetermined rules Queens on Chess Board, Josephus, Waddington's "Black Box", "Instant Insanity", "Dodeca", Macmahon cubes, Bognar's "Planets"
Canny Skipper a version of the Josephus Problem  
The World's Puzzle.  
Josephus' Seven Puzzle  
PAT-DISS Arrangement of dissimilar pieces to make pattern according to predetermined rules "Testa", Skor Mor's "Instant Indecision", Chinese Balls in Ball,  Waddington's "Kolor Kraze"
     
PAT-STAK Stacking, Overlapping & Weaving Patterns Stacking Transparent Layers, "Lapin", Loyd's Donkeys, Weaving puzzles
Question du Lapin. or Silhouettoscope made by Wattileaux  
RTF ROUTEFINDING PUZZLES (RTF) require the solver to find either any path, or a specific path as defined by certain rules.
RTF-ANY Route Mazes (any path) Most Hedge mazes, Mazes on surface of a cube, Ball in 4x4x4 cube of cubelets
The Lost sheep Puzzle Australia 1889  
Busy Bee Route finding Puzzle  
RTF-CPLX Routefinding with Changing Path &/or Complex Traveller "Frying Pan" (changing), ;Yankee"(complex), "Tandem Maze"(complex), "Bootlegger"(complex)
Dual Alliance between France & Russia in 1894  
1890s Hide and Seek Maze  
RTF-OTH Complex Route Mazes with special objectives "Worried Woodworm", Colour Mazes, Number totalling mazes, avoiding objects, visiting places en route
Mobius Maze  
RTF-REL Routefinding related  
Labyrinth on silver stater from Knossos  
RTF-UNIC Unicursal Routefinding Icosian Game, Konigsburg Bridges
Jeu des Ponts de Paris  

Sir William Hamilton's Icosian Game and Traveller's Dodecahedron Puzzle.
RTF-STEP Routefinding Step Mazes  Ring & Hole mazes, "Pike's Peak"
Pikes Peak or Bust  
     
SEQ SEQUENTIAL MOVEMENT PUZZLES (SEQ) are those that can be solved only by moves which can be seen to be dependant on previously made moves.
SEQ-GRP Sliding & Shunting with Mechanical or Rotating parts (some Group moves NEEDED) "Tower of Babel", "Missing Link", "Backspin", "Turntable Train", Tomy's "Great Gears", Raba's "Rotascope", "Rubik's" Cube, "Orbit" TWISTY PUZZLES
Magic Icosahedron  
Erno Rubik's Magic Cube  
Jugo Flower Puzzle  
Beijing Olympic Sphere Puzzle  
SEQ-HOPP Sequential Hopping & Jumping. Solitaire, Tower of Hanoi, Counter & Peg moving puzzles
Indian Solitaire  
Solitaire Boards  
Eduardo Lucas: La Tour D'Hanoi (Tower of Hanoi)  
Olympic Wander Rings Puzzle  
1894 US Presidential Election  
Panama Puzzle"  
SEQ-OTH Sequential Miscellaneous Mechanical "The Brain", "Hexadecimal", "Spin Out"
     
SEQ-PLAC Sequential Placement "Psychic Puzzle", "Fit Puzzle"
Puzzle of Puzzles by William Darton  
Oktostar Puzzle  
SEQ-REL SEQUENTIAL- Related  
Star Wars Episode II counter display  
SEQ-RIVR Sequential River Crossing "Wolf,Sheep & Cabbage"
Clergy and Umbrella  
SEQ-SIMP Sequential Simple Sliding & Shunting (No group moves needed) 15s puzzle, Tit-Bit's "Teasers", "Inversions"
Kinsey's Combination Puzzle  
Pax Puzzle  
Shunting Puzzle  
Russian-Japanese War Chifu-Chemulpo Railway  
Perplexicon Puzzle  
SEQ-ROLL Sequential Rolling Rolling 8 Cubes
     
TNG TANGLEMENT PUZZLES (TNG) have parts that must be linked or unlinked. The linked parts, which may be flexible, have significant freedom of movement in relation to each other, unlike the parts of an interlocking puzzle.
TNG-FLEX All Flexible Parts Leather & paper tanglement puzzles
The Kaiser's moustache  
Scotsman's bagpipe Puzzle"  
TNG-R&F Tanglement of Rigid & Flexible Parts Hess Wire puzzles, Dalgety's "Devil's Halo"
The Mantrap Puzzle  
A Cannon not in Hoffmann  
Perry's Fish Puzzle  
Torbus Toroidal Puzzles  
Aeriel Puzzle  
Devil's Halo Puzzle  
Muroi's Circus  
Russian-Japanese War Torpedoes and Prisoners  
Jameson Raid - South Africa - Transvaal War  
Irish Question 1880s  
TNG-RIGI Tanglement of Rigid & Semi Rigid Parts Wire PUZZLES, Cast "ABC", Chinese Rings
Chinese Rings Puzzle from India  
Tricycle Puzzles  
Bland's "Egyptian Mystery"  
Boodle Alderman Puzzle  
Poppy Appeal Puzzle  
TNG-RING Puzzle Finger Rings Puzzle Rings, Puzzle Bracelets
Four-Band Puzzle Rings .

 

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