Our collection of puzzles is based on the types of diversions made by blacksmiths in earlier centuries. We call them Tavern Puzzles because they often turned up in country inns and taverns, the community gathering places in American towns, in days gone by.
Did blacksmiths have a special fondness for puzzles? Maybe. What is more likely is that making a puzzle was a task that was used as a forging exercise for apprentice blacksmiths. The apprentice could learn techniques for making an eye, a twist, and precision bending in a simple puzzle design like the Iron Heart. After the master was satisfied with the apprentice's skill in producing nails, the young apprentice might put together a brainteaser like the Patience Puzzle.
Each puzzle is mechanical in nature: you do not need to use any force or tricks. Puzzles are solved when the object piece is removed. Every puzzle can be considered two puzzles in one, because the solution is not truly mastered until the object piece is returned to its starting point. Literature included with each puzzle shows the puzzle in its starting position and indicates the object piece, as well as how the puzzle looks when it is displayed.
Tavern Puzzles are made from mild steel, similar to iron. They will develop a beautiful patina through use and handling. The more you play with your puzzle, the more attractive it will become.
Steel rusts if it is exposed to moisture, or stored under damp conditions. If your puzzle will not be handled for a period of time, a light application of furniture polish will keep it in good condition. With a little care, your Tavern Puzzle will become an heirloom!