SOLITAIRE is one of the great classic puzzles.

There are two basic layouts, the English 33 hole and the French 37 hole versions.
Moves are made by jumping  a piece over a neighbouring piece into a vacant hole. The jumped piece is removed.

Various starting and ending positions can be used providing an almost endless series of problems.


Here are some photographs showing how the same puzzle has been reproduced in many forms.

Marked with a green "Fort"

With built in box to contain the marbles.

This board appears to be an early 19th Century scrimshaw board; however it is actually resin from the 1970s

Faience pottery board by Bassenello, Italy

Magnificent ivory 37 peg solitaire with beautifully matched urn style pegs, circa 1850.

An old pine board still retaining its original box.

A beautiful Indian Board

Early 19th Century board stands on 4 wooden legs. The underside inscribed “Invented by Lord Derwentwater when a Prisoner in the Tower”, which is almost certainly not true.
This board by J.W.Spear is of particular interest because of the photograph on the lid, which is reputed to be of Professor Hoffmann

Combining a two player game with Solitaire.

Cheap cardboard board with steel rivets for men

Lithographed Tin board with plastic Pegs

A small but smart traveling set with the “St.George” trademark.

1990s Plastic board with Rugby balls on top of the pegs

This board is made for a doll's house.
It is only 16 mm (0.7 inches) across.

A board and pegs in the form of a Hedgehog. 1970s

Common design faults include:-

  • Not enough room for the fingers between the pegs or balls.
  • No space, or not enough space, in which to place the captured pieces.
  • Difficult to lift full board off the table.
  • Difficult to place pegs into the Holes
  • Nowhere to put the pegs when not in use.


This nice old mahogany board from around 1850 has 3 bun feet and lapis lazuli balls.