For as long as I can remember, I have loved to play with puzzles. What
first sparked my interest was a set of metal disentaglement toys for
kids which I got when I was 4 years old. They instantly became my
favourite toys, and I kept them as my "treasure" in a
small box which I still have:
A year later I got a 15-puzzle, and I still remember spending an
"eternity" (probably a week or so) before I
could figure out a simple way to rearrange the three last pieces
without starting all over again and hoping to get "lucky". The
puzzle is pretty worn, and has been repaired with tape several times:
Then my parents bought me a Rubik's cube for my birthday when
I was 7 years old. I have always considered this to be the best
birthday present of my entire childhood:
By continuing to answer "brain teasers" whenever someone asked me
what I wanted for birthdays and Christmas when I grew up, I
accumulated a small collection of wooden puzzles - mainly
interlocking and disentanglement puzzles, but also some sequential
movement and dexterity puzzles. Some of these are shown below:
But it was only after completing my phd in mathematics that I
coincidently discovered that there exsits a whole world of Rubik's
like puzzles, and that people were making new puzzles
by modifying existing ones and even creating new internal
mechanisms. From that moment I was hooked, and during the next year and
a half I acquired most of the puzzles in this picture:
I am planning to include individual pictures and
descriptions of some of my puzzles in the
but progress is rather slow at the moment...
Here are some cube books that I would recommend to anyone interested in
learning more about Rubik's cubes as well as their connection to group
theory and commutators:
If you are looking for more information about this kind of puzzles on
the internet, here are some nice websites to visit:
- TwistyPuzzles Forum:
The best source of up-to-date information about twisty puzzles. The
site has a very active forum and a comprehensive puzzle museum.
- John Rausch Puzzle World:
Here you will find interesting information about all kinds of
puzzles, and a nice forum for puzzle enthusiasts.
- Jaap's Puzzle Page:
A great website with detailed puzzle solutions and a nice introduction
to some of the mathematics that applies to the cube. The website also
hosts an online version of the Cubic Circular.
Helm's Puzzle Gallery: An amazing online
collection of twisty puzzles. There is also an extensive library of cube
books and solutions.
- Hendrik Haak's Puzzle Shop and
Museum: A very interesting Puzzle Museum and a nice Puzzle Shop.
- Frank Tiex's Puzzle Library: An exquisite
collection of custom made puzzles and rare production puzzles.
- Rob's Puzzle
Page: A large collection of various kinds of puzzles, with
interesting information about each of them.
- Mr. Twisty's
Puzzle Collection: A huge online collection of twisty puzzles.
- Milan's Puzzle
Page: A large collection of puzzles, and many nice pictures from
various puzzle meet-ups.
Roure's Puzzle Collection: The online collection of one of the largest
Spanish puzzle collectors.
- Mechanical Puzzles: Very nice
collection of custom made puzzles, information about mass produced puzzles, and links to some major puzzle collectors and inventors.
- Pantazis' Puzzle
Paradise: A nice collection of puzzles with recommandations on
which puzzles are really worth having.
Puzzle Room: The diverse collection of one of the craziest female puzzle collectors :-)
- Tony Fisher's Rubik's
Cube Type Puzzles: One of the greatest puzzle builders sharing lots of
interesting information about his puzzles.
- Litwin Puzzles: Dave
Litwin is another of my favourite puzzle builders, and a really nice
guy. Customized versions of his puzzles are available from his website.