An Australian maze puzzle from August 1889

The "Sheep" (ball) sometimes just won't fit, and sometimes will just fit, between the nails. The difference is hard to judge by eye alone, so it makes for a good puzzle maze.

Simply constructed with nails in a round board with a tin edge.

It measures 6.5 inches (165mm) in diameter.


This very rare survivor from 19th Century Australia was part of the collection of the Rev. Henry Stanley Mercer who was resident in Australia in the 1880s and 1890s.

Thanks to some remarkable research in 2011 by Dic Sonneveld, we now believe that "R.J. & Co." of Melbourne and Sydney was most probably Robert Jolley & Co. who sold books, artist’s materials, fancy stationery and novelties, and who, in 1889, also sold a puzzle.
The initials "K. & J." on the label of the Lost Sheep puzzle also probably refers to
Kindermann & Jolley.

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