lso known as Meleda - or in Chinese translation as 'Ryou-Kaik-Tiyo' - the "delay guest instrument", it is one of the oldest mechanical puzzles in existence . Its beginnings are still unknown .
tewart Cullin, the noted 19th century ethnologist, relates that the puzzle was invented by the famous Chinese general Hung Ming, in the 2nd century AD (181 - 234) as a present to his wife so that, in trying to solve the puzzle, she would have something to do while he was away at the wars, and forget to grieve for his long absence !
eleda first appeared in Europe in the mid-16th century and was described by the mathematician Geronimo Cardano .
he problem of the rings was first found by Cardan, but was later treated at length in mathematical terms by John Wallis in approximately 1685 . In 1693 it was mentioned in an English book, and around that time it gained popularity in many European countries . Early examples are found in England and Scandinavia . Later in the 19th century, it was discussed using binary arithmetic notation by Gros .
riginally used by French peasants to lock chests, it was called 'Baguenaudier' - which means 'time-waster' in French . It therefore was found to be too time-consuming for that purpose ! They had also been put to practical use in Norway, for they were found to be very effective luggage locks . Made of iron, meleda certainly warranted the alternative name "tiring irons", a name which still persists . It would surely be a determined or desperate thief who could manage to open a trunk locked with this puzzle .
here have been a wide assortment of materials used in its fabrication, the earlier deluxe versions delicately carved from ivory .
t has also been called The Devil's Needle Puzzle -- and -- Patience (which is still currently being used today on some web sites) - Iron Irritation is also on the web - and the contemporary version among the computer genre Computer Loops . A new name from the web has to be added to this list : K'niblin Pins : a combination of clear acrylic, polished brass and chrome rings. Still other names : Indian Rings -- Gangnails -- Catacombs -- Brain Game -- Dragon Lock (7 colored plastic rings, stem separator is a large base)' made by the Thunder Trading Co., Pasadena, CA; designed by Jack Parshall, Jr. -- in Italy it's known as Anelli di Cardano or Cardano's Rings
he intent is to remove the handle from the rest of the assembly in large sequential moves - depending on the number of rings used . Although it is often usually known under the classification as a disentanglement puzzle, it is better classified as sequential movement . The Ingenious Ring Puzzle Book by Ch´ung-En Yü, published in 1958 in Shanhasp, indicates that it was very popular and known to almost every Chinese family during the Sung Dynasty (960-1279) . At the National Museum of Finland it is exhibited as a traditional folk toy with the name "Prisoner's Lock" .
-- It is very closely related to The Tower of Creation (Tower of Hanoi) and The Brain (from Mag-Nif Corp.) in their binary solutions.
The feel of this handle end is unbelievably smooth and comfortable in the grip of one's
hand . . . .
within the palm
of your hand
not to mention the exquisite distinction it adds to the aesthetics of the puzzle !
< regular-length 'carrot' handle (better fits a child's hand)
. . . or . . .
< e x t e n d e d 'egg' coil !
Sleeker 'egg-shaped' coil for maximum smoothness in your hand .