Circa 1980's except the custom 2 section version purchased 2014.
(4 section, 4 column tower is 1.4" x 3.5" with 5/8" diameter balls,
4 section, 4 column key ring tower is 5/8" x 1.75" long with 3/16" diameter balls,
2 section, 5 column tower custom made in Ukraine is 1.5" x 2.25" with 5/8" diameter balls,
5 section, 5 column tower is 1.6" x 4" with 5/8" diameter balls,
7 section, 7 column tower is 1.6" x 4" with 3/8" diameter balls)
This puzzle is slightly different from the
in that instead of one column missing a ball to
create the gap, there is an extra section that has the gap. However, just like the Whip-It towers, any ball
can effectively be moved to any position without disturbing the others (given that all balls of a given
color are equivalent), and these puzzles can be solved in any order (with any assignment of colors to
columns) one ball at a time (it just takes longer when there are more columns and / or sections). In fact,
if you first just park one of the balls in the gap, then this puzzle is identical to the Whip-It Towers,
except at the end you just drop the ball on on the appropriate column.
Because the number of rows and columns is the same (except for the custom made 2 section version),
a second problem is to put the same color ball in each row.
The Smarties Version of the Varikon 4-Section Tower:
The Smaries tower is identical to the standard 4 section Varikon tower
except for color and the addition of the text at the bottom "Smarties Smarties Smarties Only Smarties Have The Answer".
It comes with directions that frame it as a game with a number of things to do.