(Web's topnotch Craftsmen / Designers / Collectors)
~ My 'Friends Of Distinction' ~

This section will be an ongoing 'under construction' effort.

The sole intention of creating this particular page was to present a more profound acknowledgement and recognition of much-deserved credit for all of the hard-earned contributions to the puzzle world-at-large from all those great folk listed here, by including a picture of that person as well as the association with his/her biography and website link.

The order with which the entries will be added will not be in sequence of importance, but rather than, when I receive the data for addition to the page.   To all those who have not yet been added -- please be patient -- as my time on the computer is limited, and progress will be slow.

I thank all of you who have given me permission in displaying your pics and links,
and a Thank You in advance to those who will be added to this page in the future .

Although I have never personally met any of you (except for Mr. Coffin, back in the early 70s),
I still feel a close kinship by way of a continued cameraderie via email and the Internet .

     Tom Lensch                                                                                                                                                                                      Knotsplosion
A great writeup about Tom can be seen at John Rausch's  Puzzle World

. . . . . and Tom has his own biographical text here :    biography
You can view Tom's website here:    Wood Frustrations

    Markus Gotz
You can view Markus' website here:    Home page

You will need to go  here to translate his page from German to English.

Just copy his page address and enter it in the webpage field on this translator page --
select the correct 'from & to' languages (German to English) -- and click the 'translate' button.

You will automatically be taken back to his Home page, which can now be read in English.

Matti Linkola                                                                                                                                                                                            Diagonal Burr

Matti has his own biographical text here :    biography

The ring on his head is a "Yeast Ring".
It is also a small puzzle including usually 40 - 50 similar pieces to form a flexible chain, which is closed to form a ring.  It is an old Scandinavian model made in Finland, Sweden and Estonia.

You can view Matti's website here:    Matti's Puzzle Page

     Martin Watson                                                                                                                               Martin & Alice Laird

Martin has his own biographical text here :    biography

You can view Martin's website here:    Home page

Francis Andrac

Francis "Cisco" Andrac has his own biographical text here :    biography
You can view Cisco's website here:    Les CASSE -- TETE de Cisco
You will need to go  here to translate his page from French to English.
Just copy his page address and enter it in the webpage field on this translator page --
select the correct 'from & to' languages (French to English) -- and click the 'translate' button.

You will automatically be taken back to his Home page, which can now be read in English.

      Brian Young                                                                                                                                              The BLITZ

Brian "Mr Puzzle" Young has his own biographical text here :    biography

You can view Mr Puzzle's website here:    Mr. Puzzle

   Livewire family                                                                                                                                      Mexican Standoff

Livewire Puzzles has its own biographical text here :    biography

You can view their website here:    LiveWire Puzzles

Pam, Frank, Kate and Claudette

Jerry Slocum                                                                                                                                               15 Puzzle book
Jerry is the most avid puzzle collector in the world!
. . . . . with over 30,000 puzzles to his collection.

Jerry's biography is here :    biography

You can view their website here:    Jerry Slocum Puzzles Old and New

Here's an article by Jerry on  Japanese Puzzle Boxes

       George Hart
George is an extremely prolific puzzle sculptor who has created an extensive inventory of geometric wonders!
George's biography can be seen here:  biography

One can view his fantastic gallery starting here:    Home page

This is a must see!

        Bathsheba                                                                                                                                                     moon_pi
. . . . . Bathsheba is a very prolific puzzle sculptor who has created some very unusually, aesthetically-beautiful geometric marvels!

Bathsheba's biography is here :    biography

You can view their website here:    Bathsheba Sculpture

GarE Maxton                                                                                                                                                      Labyrinth

. . . . . GarE is a very prolific sculptor who has created some very expensive -- and beautiful - multi-metal sculpture puzzles! A few of GarE's bios are here:

You can view GarE's website here :  Maxton's Art Gallery

Michael Toulouzas                                                                                                                                      3-Chain Ring

Michael's biography is here :    biography

You can view his website here:    Puzzling Makes A Better World

     Stewart Coffin                                                                                                                                      30 Notched Sticks

Stewart is the puzzle genre's icon for all the new generation of designers/craftsmen.

Stewart's biography can be viewed here :  biography

You can view Stewart's website here :
 The Puzzling World of Polyhedral Dissections
. . . . . on John Rausch's website :  Puzzle World

        Kate & Dick Jones                                                                                                                               Giant Pyramid
"Kate is a prolific designer of polyform and edgematching puzzles, with over 200 sets created since 1980."

Kate's biography can be viewed here :    biography
Dick's biography can be viewed here :    biography

You can view Kate & Dick's website here :
 Gamepuzzles for the joy of thinking

Oskar van Deventer                                                                                                                                           6 Fingers
M. Oskar van Deventer is one of the world's most prolific designers of mechanical puzzles. Several tens of his designs are commercially available. Oskar also designs one-player computer thinking games. (see www.clickmazes.com).   Oskar's day-time job is at TNO where he develops new telecommunication architectures. Recently, he managed to combine his puzzle and telecommunication interests by developing the mobile interactive gaming concept Triangler.

Dr. Oskar van Deventer is chair of the FIST taskforce VoIP interconnection, that brings together companies such as Versatel, BT, BBned, UPC, Casema, KPN and Easynet.   He has extensive experience within voice-over-packet networking, including telephony network control, asynchronous transfer mode and voice-over-IP.   Oskar van Deventer has actively contributed to the standardisation of the voice-over-packet 'BICC' protocol by ITU-T Study Group, and was the author and editor of three ITU-T standards.   Oskar van Deventer holds a PhD degree on bidirectional optical transmission from the Eindhoven University of Technology.

You can view Oskar's many designs here :  Puzzle World . . . . . Oskar's page

   Frank Armbruster                                                                                                                                       Instant Insanity
Frank's biography can be viewed here :    biography

       Trevor Wood                                                                                                                                New Sonneveld Burr
Trevor's biography can be viewed here :    biography

Trevor's website can be viewed here :    T. W. Wood Puzzles

      Frik - n - Frak                                                                                                                                                 Fractus
Bo & Nicole's biography can be viewed here :    biography

One of two of my favorite stores, you can view Frik - n - Frak's website here :
 Frik - n - Frak's Curio Shack

Randal Gatewood                                                                                                                                              Box of Zn
. . . . . Cleverwood artisan
Randal has his own full-time business at :
 Quagmire Puzzle Boxes™

Randal's biography can be viewed here :

Jonathan McCabe                                                                                                                                           Tumbler Box
. . . . . Cleverwood artisan

Jonathan's biography can be viewed here :

    Eric Kelsic                                                                                                                                                Repeating Box
. . . . . Cleverwood artisan

Eric's biography can be viewed here :

Bernhard Schweitzer                                                                                                                                    Escher's Burr
You can view Bernhard's website here :  Puzzlewood

You will need to go  here to translate his first page from German to English.
Just copy his page address and enter it in the webpage field on this translator page --
select the correct 'from & to' languages (German to English) -- and click the 'translate' button.
You will automatically be taken back to his Home page, which can now be read in English.

All his subsequent links will have a 'flag' on them that -- when clicked on -- will translate that page to English.

Karin & Jurg von Kanel                                                                                                                                Outline Burr

You can view Karin & Jurg's website here :
 World of Wooden Puzzles

One can view Karin's and Jürg's bio  here

Kagen Schaefer                                                                                                                                                 Maze Burr

Puzzlebox craftsman

You can view Kagen's website here :  Kagen Schaefer

To know a little about Kagen, click on his   'about Kagen'   link (on his Home page).

Vaclav Obsívac                                                                                                                                   Vaclav's son and wife

<<< . . . . . with his wife (left), and a Russian puzzlist Irina Novichlova at the German Open championship 2006 and German Cube day 2006 in Gütersloh, Germany Saturday 22, April 2006.

You can view Vaclav's website here :  VIN & Co puzzles

<<< - - - - - one of Vaclav's super megapuzzles with 246 pieces

Vaclav with one of Czechoslovachia's top puzzle collectors, Jaroslav Tvrdik. >>>

. . . . . this super megapuzzle Vaclav is holding has 72 pieces >>>

Vaclav, as he proudly looks today, with some of his many exquisite craft items displayed in the background .
According to the complimentary words from the folks at  PuzzleMaster in reference to Vaclav's workmanship :
"Exquisite wood puzzles that you would be hard pressed to find anywhere else in the world. The workmanship on each puzzle is so fantastic that we can't even begin to describe it. Each piece is made with loving care as if the master craftsman was making them for royalty. There is a full range of puzzles from very small to extremely large puzzles."

And, according to the complimentary words as described by the folks at the  Age of Puzzles ,
"Wooden puzzles which are thoroughly designed and crafted by Vaclav Obsívac are so perfect that they can be described as a Harmony in Wood. Just browse through all of his puzzle creations (more than 170 at the moment!) and you will hear that Harmony."

New puzzles for 2009  here

    Eric Fuller                                                                                                                                  Stickman #12 Cross Box
You can view Eric's biography here :

You can view Eric's website here :
 Cubic Dissection

George Miller . . . with friend Oskar van Deventer                                                                                         3-cardBurr

You can view George's biography/website here :
 Puzzle Palace

Lee Krasnow                                                                                                                                                      Merkaba
You can view Lee's biography/website here :
 Pacific Puzzle Works

      Frank Potts                                                                                                                                         Hoffman puzzles

miniature lighthouse and miniature ball with 3 strings >>>

You can view Frank's website here :
 Potty Puzzles

Andrea Barthello & Bill Ritchie                                                                                                         Hexadecimal Puzzle

Bill Ritchie is a co-founder and CEO of ThinkFun, the leading manufacturer of mind challenging games.   Bill, along with co-founder, Andrea Barthello, as a husband and wife team, started the ThinkFun Company as Binary Arts back in 1985.

Together they built Binary Arts from a small, home-based business into a four-time INC 500 company with products distributed through some of the world’s most prominent retail companies.

Back in 1985, they brought out their first puzzle (in cherry wood)  The Hexadecimal Puzzle  (now very rare) .

A quote from their page states, "Our passion is to pioneer the development of games that channel the natural joy and energy that children find in play into a nurturing, family-focused way of building essential thinking skills."

You can view their website here :  ThinkFun

   George Bell                                                                                                                                              Solitaire Puzzle

George has created an extensive webpage devoted to just Peg Solitaire, with a wealth of information for those Solitaire aficianados who wanted to know everything there was to know about the puzzle and its History .

You can view his webpage here :  Peg Solitaire

Jaap Scherphuis                                                                                                                                         im - puzzle - ball

Jaap has created an extensive website devoted to Rubik's cubes of all shapes, sizes, multiple axes: -- tetrahedral, cubical, octahedral, dodecahedral, and dihedral -- , those with 'bandages', others with 'gaps', flat without gaps, other permutation puzzles, pattern matching and odds & ends (one shown is in this catagory), with a wealth of information (including solutions) for those Rubik's Cube aficianados who want to know everything there is to know about their particular puzzle .

You can view his website here, showing a thumbnail graphical overview of all 222 puzzles displayed :  Jaap's Puzzle Collection

Jaap also has a lot of great material of the  Hexadecimal Puzzle -- the very rare 'first puzzle' to be sold on the market in 1985 by Binary Arts (now ThinkFun 2003 - ), including all 16 solution variations (Gray Binary code) this particular puzzle has to offer .

Rob Stegmann with one of his favorite puzzles                                                                         Rob with Martin Watson

As Connecticut's most avid collector -- and a very good friend of mine -- Rob says, "At last count, there are over 3722+ puzzling items (including over 150 puzzle-related books) shown or described."

His  HOME page starts off by stating, "Welcome to Rob's Puzzle Page - an on-line mechanical puzzle collection. I maintain this site to report on the world of mechanical puzzles, to have fun, and share information with my family, friends, and other puzzle-people. In addition to lots of pictures of puzzles, you'll find information about puzzles, many pointers to where to get them, and some help with how to solve them. Explore using my "ring menu" above, the basic menu at the foot of this (and every other) page, the classification page, or the site map."

Comment on Ring Menu:   When you enter his HOME page -- and your cursor is nowhere near the gray strip with the angle brackets, just below the Ring Menu -- the Ring Menu is static .   However, when you move the curser anywhere within the gray strip, the Ring Menu revolves .   Depending where your curser is in relation to the images of the angle brackets
( <<<    <<    <    0    >    >>    >>> ), the speed of the rotation is accordingly adjusted .   Moving the cursor to the right side of the '0' mark on the gray strip causes a clockwise rotation;   to the left side, and you get a counter-clockwise effect .

Then, when you see a particular picture that interests you, stop the Menu rotation and click on the picture;   sometimes this will take you just to the page where the puzzle is located, other times you will be taken right to the part of a page where that puzzle is .

      Pavel Curtis                                                                                                                                         6 Tabbed Planks
Pavel Curtis is perhaps best known as the creator of the online world  LambdaMOO . He mostly does software puzzles, such as how to retain the intentions of all the people who modify a document, often asynchronously. But he also designs physical puzzles, such as Ooo Tray, Easter Island Dominoes, The "Perkinson Guest Bathroom Tile" Puzzle, Sleasier, The Devil's Half Doven, The Grand Vizier, and Hinomaru: The Japanese Flag Puzzle.

He's been collecting mechanical puzzles for as long as he can remember, and has been designing new ones since 1999. Many of the designs for sale have been featured over the years at the exclusive International Puzzle Party.

The one on the right, 6 Tabbed Planks, is the only one not of his design. He joined Microsoft with the acquisition of Placeware, which he co-founded, and is their software architect.

note: all of his puzzles for sale on his website (link below) are accompanied with a link to a Blog describing the origins of his idea for that puzzle. Great stories. Fantastic upclose pics of the puzzles once you click on their originals. His website is nicely done.

You can view his Blog comments  here

You can view his website  here

          Uwe Meffert                                                                                                                                            Pyraminx
According to an introduction by Martin Gardner:

"Uwe Meffert is one of the leading Rotating Puzzle Inventors / makers in the world, and now has a very attractive web-site which sponsored the Mind Sport Olympiad 2002, Puzzler Championship.

Uwe's introduction to puzzles was more by accident. He was doing some research in early 1970 into the energy flows inside the human body and what effect if any resulted by playing with different shapes. (The mystical powers of the Pyramids was an in thing during that period) He made all of the 5 basic Polygons out of balsa wood. However, doodling with the solids for hours soon became boring to him, so Uwe cut them into symmetric slices and attached them with rubber bands to a center ball.

This is how most of his basic puzzles where born. However, after the experiment proved to be a failure, the gentle stroking of the apexes of the various wooden pieces proved to have a very stimulating relaxing effect on the mind and body, but the different shapes made no further contribution. The wooden pieces ended up in a drawer and would still be there today collecting dust if it had not been for Erno Rubik's wonderful invention, the Rubik's cube, which took the world by storm.

Meffert's friends urged him to market his puzzles, but he was reluctant at first feeling that no one would be interested in these wooden objects. Finally in early 1981 he agreed to show his puzzles to Tomy Toys of Japan (then the 3rd largest toy company in the world) Tomy liked the puzzles very much and selected the Pyraminx. Over 10 million pieces where sold through toy stores by Christmas 1981. (and 90 million within 3 years)"

You can view his bio (an introduction by Martin Gardner)  here

You can view his attractive website  here

Martin Gardner
A quote by Mr. Gardner:   "There is still a difference between something and nothing, but it is purely geometrical and there is nothing behind the geometry." . . . . . from "The Mathematical Magic Show"

According to the fine folks at Game Puzzles, "He is the author of more than 65 books and countless articles, ranging over the fields of science, mathematics, philosophy, literature, and conjuring."

You can view the rest of his bio in more detail at  Game Puzzles (Kadon Enterprises)
. . . and another fine article writeup at  Wikipedia.org

    Robert Reid
According to  Martin Watson : "He is probably (at least in my opinion) the most revered and illustrious former pupil of Arnold House School, London, with a well-deserved world-wide following in recreational mathematics, 3D dissections, tessellations and number theory, and was later educated at The King's School, Canterbury."

You can view the rest of Martin's acquaintence description with Robert . . .  here

Leonid Mochalov . . . with cube222                                                                                                            Mochalov-8+1

"Leonid Mochalov is an incredible talented Russian puzzle creator, one of the greatest puzzle authors of nowadays. Every one puzzle by Leonid Mochalov is a pure puzzle gem. That's why for many decades his puzzles are well-known and popular in Russia and all over the World."

According to his quote on his  HOME  page, he states that he is the ". . . author of entertaining tasks. The Continuer of the best traditions of this genre: the American Sam Loyd and Englishman Henry Dudeney. I have thought up approximately 50 puzzles, for example there is "Pyramid" and "Chess cube ", and also the new types of tasks - SQUAREWORDS, LABYRINTH-NUMBER and EXPRESS-LABYRINTH."

    Rocky Chiaro                                                                                                                                               collusion
According to his quote on his home page  Brass Puzzles By Rocky , he states that "In 1950 I was in the Navy at Pearl Harbor learning to be a Machinist. I Machined eight one inch brass blocks and cut slots in them to make them fit together. I was not trying to make a puzzle. I was just practicing machine work. The block would not stay together. It was in the 1980s Some time when I realized that mathematically I could make the block so that seven pieces would go to the center. That would allow putting a pin through it to make it stay together. My nephew Kenny Chiaro in Tucson AZ has that first Puzzle that would not stay together."

       Allan Stein                                                                                                                                         revomaze
According to the folks at  PuzzleMaster  , on their company info page, the first paragraph starts off by stating, "Puzzle Master is a Canadian manufacturer of wire disentanglement puzzles (brain teasers). The company started because an interest the owner, Allan Stein, had in collecting wire puzzles. Allan collected these puzzles for a few years before he thought of making them himself. Once he found out that he was able to make the puzzles successfully he thought "Why don’t I try to sell some of the puzzles at craft shows and see if there are people who like them as much as I do". At the craft shows he found that not only did the people like the puzzles, they loved them. These craft shows were the first way that Puzzle Master marketed these puzzles."

More company bio can be seen  here .

They have since expanded exponentially, representing many other sources that include: wood puzzles, Japanese Puzzle Boxes, Puzzle Rings, Rubik's Cube & others, Puzzle Books, Chess Sets & pieces, Mechanical Banks, Jigsaw puzzles of every sort (regular, 3D, Art Fraud, Collector Suitcase Series, Hidden Images, Impossibles, Laugh Out Loud, Lost In A Jigsaw, Memory Lane, Mystery, Optical Illusion, Panoramics, Photomosaics, Puzzle Bank, Round, Shaped, Sphere, The Edge, World's Most Difficult, World's Smallest Pieces, and Accesories), games, and solutions to a great many of the mechanical puzzles.

Allan's brother, Leon, helps with sales . . . and Paul Guenter is their Web Administrator, photographer and graphics engineer for all their excellent puzzle pics.

                 Seth Anderson                                                                                Carousel                                 Brain Puzzles

You can view his website  here

You can view his bio  here

Nick Baxter . . . with IPP exchange puzzle                                                                                                      TriGears
According to  Puzzle Palace  , "TriGears is a special puzzle. There are three gears set so that turning one gear turns the other two. If the three gears were in a flat plane they would, of course, jam. Oskar had the gears bevelled and set them at 60 degrees so that they all mesh in the middle. This apparently has no practical value and would not be a puzzle if Oskar had not made the teeth of the gears of varying width and of varying spacing.

The object of the puzzle is to place the three gears in their holder such that they spin freely and do not jam. There is only one way to do this (  see the solution ). All other assemblies quickly jam. Once solved, the puzzle becomes a toy in that it is very satisfying to keep spinning the gears."

Designed by Bram Cohen and Oskar van Deventer, and originally prototyped by George Miller. Manufactured by Jason Smith and Adam Cowan.

You can view Nick's compedium of sliding blocks on his special page  here

You can view Nick's auction page  here

You can view Nick's biography from an article from Stanford University titled "Meet Our ALUMNI"  here

                    Bill Wylie                                                                                          Hexidecimal Puzzle (copy)
Bill served an apprenticeship as a cabinetmaker in Scotland a long time ago.   The company he worked for specialized in the repair of antiques, so the work was of very high quality.   He moved to Australia in the mid fifties and eventually started a furniture-making/repair business, and a general building business, with the help of his two sons (both carpenters).

He has since retired a number of years ago, and has now brought to the puzzle genre a resurgence of the famed and rare Hexadecimal Puzzle (16 puzzles in one).

He has recently started selling his new item on eBay.
The eBay page viewed here has since ended, but he will continue to start new pages.

All new auction winners are encouraged to email me with their names so that I may be able to enter them onto my special  Hall Of Hexadecimal Owners  page (as 'copy' owners).

             Richard Gain                                                                           Steady State Cube             my LiveCube's version
According to Richard, "This cube really is something quite special. About a year ago, after seeing the Transformers movie, I was inspired, by the behaviour of the AllSpark cube, to try and design a puzzle that could expand equally in all directions. To make things even harder, I wanted each piece to be locked in place by the preceding move. After many prototypes I finally succeeded in creating this unique sculpture consisting of six parts. The first stage in solving the puzzle involves discovering how the pieces fit together in the expanded configuration. (One of these moves includes a rotation, which makes it much harder to crack by computer!) The second stage is to collapse the expanded cube down to the smaller cube by pressing each of the faces in the correct sequence. The name of the puzzle comes from a (now obsolete) alternative to the Big Bang Theory proposed by Fred Hoyle. I like the fact that from its expanded, steady state the cube can either collapse inwards or explode outwards."

You can view Richard's other diabolical cube miniatures in the Microcubology Dept. at Shapeways  here

See Richard's Puzzlefriend’s Weblog  here

             Erno Rubik                        original cube           modern version/Rubik's 360          Erno's biography

    Tim Rowett
According to the folks at  Grand Illusions  , "Our toy expert Tim has built up an amazing collection of over 18,000 toys during his lifetime. These are not for sale, but we share their wonders with you via video in the Toy Collection part of the web site. In most cases these are toys that are no longer made, so we are not normally able to help in sourcing these items."

One can view their history  here

Besides toys, there are 7 pages of  optical illusions  for purchase.

There is one illusion you can actually make yourself -- although it will take a little patience to cut out the print-out you can get on my  Illusions  page.
Look for the 'paper dragons' section and click on the 4th dragon to the right-hand part of the page.