"The 15 Puzzle is the granddaddy of all sliding-block puzzles. It was a worldwide sensation more
than a century ago — the first major novelty craze of the industrial age, the progenitor, in a way,
of Pigs in Clover, crosswords, Rubik's Cube, sudoku, and all the other mental manias in the years
The quest for the origin of the 15 Puzzle was itself an historical puzzle of sorts, with a 'solution'
every bit as surprising and satisfying as any other.
...this surprising, entertaining, and painstakingly researched book ...
This is a book that everyone interested in puzzles will enjoy."
From the Foreword by Will Shortz, Crossword Editor, New York Times and Puzzlemaster,
National Public Radio
This book contains the definitive, illustrated history of one of the most popular and important mechanical
puzzles of all time. It can be argued that the Fifteen Puzzle in 1880 had the greatest impact
on American and European society during of any mechanical puzzle the world has ever known.
Books by famous mathematicians tell that a deaf mute invented the 15 puzzle, but encyclopedias, other books and web sites say it was invented by Sam Loyd who Martin Gardner called
"America's greatest puzzle designer".
Or has Sam Loyd, who said he invented the puzzle, continued to fool the world for more than 100 years?
• The true story of the puzzle is told here for the first time.
• The real inventor and his patent application records were found.
• The story of how the puzzle came to be manufactured.
• Proof that the 15 puzzle is mathematically impossible to solve.
• How a young New Yorker solved it.
• The worldwide puzzle craze that it created.