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Saturday, 27 July 2013

Impossible Bottle (Harry Eng)

I know they aren't mechanical puzzles in the strictest sense, but I really do love impossible objects. I like to ponder over how they have been created, but strangely I don't really want to know the answers as I'd much rather keep on guessing.
Harry Eng is widely regarded as being the master of the 'impossible bottles'. Over the 64 years of his life Harry put decks of cards, tennis balls, tools and even shoes into glass bottles. A particular signature of his was being able to tie complete and complex knots inside bottles as well!

I was very lucky as to stumble across this particular bottle on eBay of all places! 

It was used as an exchange puzzle in Seattle in 1994 for IPP14. It is just a standard glass bottle containing a full monkey's fist knot loose in the bottom, with a whole tennis ball above it. The neck of the bottle is obviously too small for either of these two items to be in there, and yet there they are.

In case you were curious, yes I did check to see if the tennis ball was fully inflated by prodding it with a pen, and it is. I can only guess how this very curious object was created, but like I said, I don't really want to know the answer. I much prefer to pose the question to others instead and see what kind of amazing and elaborate ideas they come up with.

Keep an eye out for some of these creations if you find them as interesting as I do. Or as an even better suggestion, have a try at making one yourself! I mean how hard could it be right?

Friday, 26 July 2013

AlCyl (Iwahiro)

So very much has happened since my last blog post; I went a few MPPs, got married etc. but I think it's about time for a new post!

This rather lovely looking puzzle goes by the name of AlCyl, which is short for 'Aluminium Cylinder'. It made it's first appearance in 2009 as an IPP exchange puzzle in San Francisco, designed by Hirokazu Iwasawa (AKA: Iwahiro) and made by Seiko Kogyo Co. This particular version is a new run of the design which has been available from Wil Strijbos over the last year or so.

AlCyl is machined entirely from aluminium, which has then been anodised in blue. The colour of the the cylinders from the 'new' run of puzzles is slightly darker than the original 2009 version, but apart from that they are completely identical in size and design.

The AlCyl almost seems like it was born to live next to the Aluminium Cylinder and Washer Cylinder puzzles from Wil Strijbos. The AlCyl is larger than both of the others measuring in at 48x60mm, and it has a pretty decent heft to it as well.

The objective of this puzzle is to open it and retrieve the hidden coin inside. As a design it is very simple, and while that doesn't always mean the puzzle itself will be simple as well in this case that is exactly what it means. Most -if not all- puzzlers will be able to solve this puzzle in little time. The only time I have heard of a puzzler not being able to solve it is when Kevin somehow managed to jam his shut by accident (it's funny how it always seems to be Kevin).

This would be a great addition alongside a collection of beautifully made metal puzzles, just don't expect to have the solving experience of your life with it.

The AlCyl is currently available for a very reasonable price directly from Wil Strijbos.
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