I’ve seen pictures of these little guys around the internet for some time now and always liked the look of them – I knew they’d been manufactured in a limited run and had seen the occasional example up for sale, but never when I was actually in a position to order one…
That changed a bit when I stumbled across Oy Sloyd Ab, a brilliant looking Finnish puzzle shop with a good web site … and when Oli mentioned how great their service had been … I ordered a few things from them, including one of Wil’s cylinders from the original run … [01/97]
It’s an innocuous looking little puzzle – it stands only a few inches high and has no external markings apart from the numbering on the side of the base and the lid. The lid turns fairly freely (you can feel the effects of a spring against it) and depresses a millimetre or two…which generally releases a couple of ball bearings to run around a track inside – from time to time there’s a ball bearing visible through a small hole in the centre of the base of the puzzle…
I’ve heard of these things remaining closed for years, stubbornly resisting the attempts of desperate puzzlers to unlock their secrets – and I can easily believe that – this is not a puzzle that will ever get solved accidentally: there are four ball bearings in there, and any one of them can lock the puzzle closed. The rather cunningly designed internals also mean that an unwary puzzler will find himself locking the puzzle rather than unlocking it.
[…and, No I’m not going to give you any clues to the mechanism, solve it yourself!]
Cute puzzle – get one, either from Sloyd or directly from William Strijbos.
Nice review. I was going to do one myself but you got there first! Bought mine direct from Wil. I agree - it is beautifully made and quite difficult to solve. I think it took about 10 hours to manage it. I can now do it in under a minute! If you play with varying the number of balls you put inside you will see that having just 1 is trivially easy to open and could easily be done accidentally As soon as 2 are in it gets tough and with 4 there is no chance it could be done by accident.
Keep up the good reviews. Kev