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.
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. Perplexus is an example of a 3D ball-in-a-maze. Recently a large number of virtual versions have become available.
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.
- van Delft, Pieter; Jack Botermans (1978). Creative Puzzles of the World. Cassell. p. 141. ISBN 0-304-30300-3.
- US 410956, Crandall, Charles, "Game or Puzzle No. 410,956", issued 1889
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