While there are a large number of Maze Puzzles designed for use of a pencil on a maze drawn on paper, as well as physical mazes created from planted bushes in formal gardens, there are also handheld mechanical maze puzzles like the following one.
Manufactured by Brio in Sweden, Labyrintspel is a mechanical maze puzzle acquired by a donor in 1970, and donated to the Museum in 1984. The puzzle is still found for sale in shops around the world.
The wooden box is 28.5cm long x 33.2cm wide x 9.5cm high. On the right vertical side is a black knob 1.9cm high x 3.5cm in diameter which causes the top surface of the maze to tilt front to back. On the front vertical side is a similar knob which causes the top surface of the maze to tilt left and right. Tilting, accomplished by a series of wires attached to the knobs inside the box, allows a steel ball to move through the maze. The maze path on the top is drawn with black lines. 60 numbered holes and raised wooden rails are at intervals on the top surface.
The intent is to manipulate a steel ball (1.2cm in diameter) through the maze by rotating the knobs - without letting the ball fall into one of the holes before it reaches the end of the maze. If a ball does fall prematurely into a hole, a slanted floor inside the box returns the ball to the user in the trough on the lower right corner of the box. (Note: A manipulative hand-held maze puzzle can be found by returning to the Main Puzzle Page, and clicking on the "Dexterity" icon.)
NOTE: This page was originally created and posted on the Web on October 6, 1997. Subsequently it has been modified and periodically updated. Last update April 7, 2010