Ball-in-a-maze puzzle

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A simple wooden ball-in-a-maze

Ball-in-a-maze puzzles are dexterity puzzles which involve manipulating either a maze (or labyrinth) or one or several balls so that the ball or balls are manoeuvered towards a goal. Toys like this have been popular since "Pigs in Clover" was invented by Charles Martin Crandall in the 1880s, with the patent being applied for in 1889.[1][2][3][4][5]

In some versions a wooden labyrinth is tilted using two knobs and the ball has to be navigated past a series of holes and obstacles. A magnet is used in other versions where the balls have to be manipulated rather than the maze.[2]

Another version, usually molded in transparent plastic, uses the ball as a key to opening an internal compartment by manipulating the ball into position, and then operating a sliding mechanism that releases an access door. They are sometimes called "Money Maze" banks or puzzle boxes.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2010-01-26. Retrieved 2010-05-12.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  2. ^ a b van Delft, Pieter; Jack Botermans (1978). Creative Puzzles of the World. Cassell. p. 141. ISBN 0-304-30300-3.
  3. ^ "R Journet". Archived from the original on 2011-07-13. Retrieved 2010-05-12.
  4. ^[bare URL PDF]
  5. ^ US 410956, Crandall, Charles, "Game or Puzzle No. 410,956", issued 1889