Dad's Puzzler



a.k.a. Dad's Puzzle, Moving Puzzle, Tit-Bits Teaser No. 1,
Penant Puzzle, Box of Nine, Nine Block Puzzle

Patents and copyrights include L. W. Hardy 1909, J. W. Hayward 1926,
Frederic E. Aaron 1927, and C. O. Luce 1953, these two are not dated.

(cardboard box and 9 wood pieces, 4 by 3.25 by 1/2 inches;
presented on pages 78-79 and plate 6 of Hordern's book)

Slide the 2x2 piece from the upper left to the lower left (without picking up pieces); the positions of the other pieces don't matter:
Perhaps the most produced mechanical puzzle of the first half of the 20th century, after the Fifteen puzzle. Many were made with the same 4 x 3.25 x 1/2 inch box, the same size and shaped pieces (sometimes plastic in later years), but with additional text or different cover art to promote products (laundry detergent, glue, etc.). See also the Humdinger version.

A Typical Dads Puzzler Solution Sheet

A Dad's Puzzler Solution
Here is a solution of 62 straight-line moves; it can be converted to 59 rectilinear moves by combining steps 6/7, 27/28, and 58/59:



(one move = sliding one piece any number of units in one direction)

Dad's Puzzler Diagonal
The diagonal version of Dad's Puzzler is to move the 2x2 piece diagonally to the lower right corner; it is described on page 5 of the 1942 Filipiak book (which gives a solution of 59 moves).


(Move the 2x2 to the lower right; the positions of the other pieces do not matter.)

One might think that it would be a harder to move the 2x2 piece diagonally to the lower right corner since it is farther away than the lower left. However, here is a solution of only 31 straight-line moves; it can be converted to 29 rectilinear moves by combining steps 6/7 and 18/19:



(one move = sliding one piece any number of units in one direction)

Note: For harder versions of Dad's Puzzler where there are additional constraints on the final position, see Dad's Puzzler Exchange.

Other Versions Of Dad's Puzzler


Pennant Puzzle, circa 1910.
(cardboard box, 9 cardboard pieces, 4.1 by 3.3 by 1/4 inches)

Often credited as the first version made of Dad's puzzler. A slightly different manufacture of this puzzle has the same box top except at the bottom it says "PATENT ALLOWED DIRECTIONS ON BOTTOM OF BOX" and does not credit Hardy 1909, the same directions except the address for O. K. Novelty of Chicago is listed as "225 North Sangamon St.", and the same baseball teams on the pieces, which are more of an off-white color.

Other Versions Of Dad's Puzzler, Continued


Tit-Bits Teaser, George Newnes, London, Made in the U.S.A., 1927.
(cardboard box, 9 wood pieces, 4 by 3.25 by 1/2 inches;
page 78 of Hordern's book list this as "Tit-Bits Teaser No. 1, 1927")

Other Versions Of Dad's Puzzler, Continued


Moving Puzzle, Copyright Frederick E. Aaron 1927.
(cardboard box, 9 wood pieces, and solution sheet, 4 by 3.25 by 1/2 inches;
left: blank near the bottom where promotion text usually goes;
right: vendor sample version)

Other Versions Of Dad's Puzzler, Continued


Eskimo Pie Co., "ELGIN ICE CREAM", circa 1940's?
(cardboard box and 9 wood pieces, 4 by 3.25 by 1/2 inches;
directions on inside of box top and solution sheet included;
different versions different Ice Cream distributor on the box top)

Other Versions Of Dad's Puzzler, Continued

Copyright J. W. Hayward 1926,
manufactured by the Standard Trailer Company, Cambridge Springs, PA,
distributed by S-M News Co., Inc., 229 Fourth Ave., New York, NY.

(cardboard box and 9 wood pieces, 4 by 3.25 by 1/2 inches)

Here are the top / bottom (left below) and left / right (right below) box edges:




Here are the directions:

Other Versions of Dad's Puzzler, Continued


Copyright Standard Trailer Co. 1953.
(cardboard box and 9 plastic pieces, 4 by 3.25 by 1/2 inches)

Other Versions of Dad's Puzzler, Continued


Cross Publishing, Copyright 1957.
(cardboard box and 9 plastic pieces, 3.25 by 4 by 5/16 inches)

Other Versions of Dad's Puzzler, Continued

C. O. Luce 1953, purchased by J.A. Storer as a child circa 1962.
(cardboard box and 10 plastic pieces, 4 x 3.25 x 1/2 inches)

Other Versions of Dad's Puzzler, Continued


Adams "Moving Day Puzzle", circa 1930.
(metal tray and lid with nine metal pieces, 4 x 3.25 x 1/4 inches;
came with blank metal cover, and photo of the puzzle has been glued to it;
Dads Puzzler Diagonal is first presented, and then the standard puzzle,
where the solutions allow one to push two or three blocks together.

Other Versions of Dad's Puzzler, Continued


Adams Company, circa 1930.
(heavy metal tray and lid with nine metal pieces, 4 x 3.25 x 1/4 inches,
pieces slide well with a nice fit;
directions on the box bottom, solution sheet included;
a newer version is shown on page 62 of the Adams Co. History book)

Other Versions of Dad's Puzzler, Continued

Adams Company, 1961.
(metal tray and nine plastic pieces, 3.75 x 3 x 5/16 inches;
shown on page 108 of the Adams Co. History book)

Came with solutions to both Dad's Puzzler and Dads Puzzler Diagonal:


Other Versions of Dad's Puzzler, Continued


Dads Move A Block, unknown date.
(5.5 by 4 by 1.125 inch high wood box with wood pieces)

Other Versions of Dad's Puzzler, Continued

Aangeboden door:
N. V. Sigareniabriek
GEBRs. GARVELINK
EINDHOVEN

"Offered by:
N. V. Sigareniabriek
GEBRs. GARVELINK
EINDHOVEN"

Leg de blokjes zooals op de
bovenstaande fig. is aangegeven
in de doos.
Breng nu uitsluitend door schui-
ven hut groote blok AIDA op
de plaats van de blokjes B. en C.

"Place the cubes just as the
fig. above indicated
in the box.
Now apply exclusively
large sliding cabin block AIDA on
the position of the blocks B and C."
N. V. Sigareniabriek, Eindhoven, the Netherlands, circa 1940's?
(wood box with 9 wood pieces, 4.1" x 3.32" x 5/8")

Other Versions of Dad's Puzzler, Continued



Central Specialty Co., Hutchinson, Kansas, unknown age.
(cardboard box and 9 wood pieces, 4.1" x 3.3" x 7/16""; directions inside of box top)

Other Versions of Dad's Puzzler, Continued




Leech Products Co., Hutchinson, Kansas, unknown age.
(cardboard box and 9 wood pieces, 3.5" x 2.8" x 5/16"; directions inside of box top)

Other Versions of Dad's Puzzler, Continued




Piedmont Premium Beer., undated.
(cardboard box and 9 wood pieces, 4 by 3.25 by 9/16 inches)

Other Versions of Dad's Puzzler, Continued



Frigidaire Jumble Puzzle, undated.
(cardboard box and 9 cardboard pieces, 3 by 2.5 by 5/16 inches)

Other Versions of Dad's Puzzler, Continued

Magnetic Square Puzzle,
WM. F. Drueke & Sons, Inc., Grand Rapids, MI, copyright 1961.

(plastic pieces with magnetic backs in cardboard box with metal bottom,
7.8 by 7.8 by 5/8 inches)



Kasko Puzzler, "REG US PAT OFF".
(cardboard box and 9 wood pieces, 4 by 3.25 by 1/2 inches)

Other Versions of Dad's Puzzler, Continued


Crane Packing Co., Chicago, Copyright J. W. Hayward 1926.
(cardboard box and 9 wood pieces, 4" x 3.25" x 1/2"; directions inside box top)

Other Versions of Dad's Puzzler, Continued




MOVING Puzzle, Copyright Frederick E. Aaron 1941,
"Hasley Bros. MOVING AND STORAGE", Pittsburgh, PA.

(cardboard box and 9 wood pieces, 4" x 3.25" x 1/2"; directions inside box top)

Other Versions of Dad's Puzzler, Continued



Moving Puzzle, Copyright Frederick E. Aaron 1927,
"GREYVAN STORAGE, INC. 1665 Main St., Buffalo 8, N.Y.".

(cardboard box and 9 wood pieces, with solution sheet, 4 by 3.25 by 1/2 inches)

Other Versions of Dad's Puzzler, Continued



Motor Grinding Co., copyright J. W. Hayward 1926.
(cardboard box and 9 wood pieces, 4 by 3.25 by 1/2 inches;
directions on inside of the box top)

Other Versions of Dad's Puzzler, Continued




F. C. Bellis Independent Oil, patent applied for, copyright J. W. Hayward 1926.
(cardboard box and 9 wood pieces, 4 by 3.25 by 1/2 inches;
2x2 piece has paper label; directions on inside of the box top)

Other Versions of Dad's Puzzler, Continued




Ohio Table Pad Co., copyright J. W. Hayward 1926.
(cardboard box and 9 wood pieces, 4 by 3.25 by 7/16 inches)

More Versions Of Dad's Puzzler



More Versions Of Dad's Puzzler, Continued



More Versions Of Dad's Puzzler, Continued


Further Reading
Some More Examples Of Dad's Puzzles

Hardy Patent, from: www.uspto.gov - patent no. 1,017,752
Filed Dec. 14, 1907; granted Feb. 20, 1912.
Shows as its preferred embodiment (Figure 1) a 4x4 tray with ten pieces
(one 2x2, three 1x2, two 2x1, and four 1x1).
Claims 8 and 9 addresses a general class of sliding block puzzles with three sizes of pieces,
and Claim 10 addresses puzzles with one 2x2 piece,
some number of 1x2 and 2x1 pieces, and some number of 1x1 pieces.
Kuczynski Patent, from: www.uspto.gov - patent no. 6,039,318
Filed Mar. 4, 1998; granted Mar. 21, 2000.
Figures show Dad's Puzzler and specifications describe a frame for holding it.