Pyramids have long been a thing of mystery since their origins are clouded in the mysteries of the ancient world. So it is not surprising that somebody would invent puzzles based upon a pyramid shape.
This Webpage concerns three-dimensional puzzles that form a pyramid shape. (See also the Tower Puzzles in the puzzle section, which some authors also classify as Pyramid Puzzles.)
This is a "simple" two piece puzzle. It's been around for a long time - the creator is unknown. The Museum's copy was purchased in 1972 from World Wide Games, Delaware, Ohio. When put together correctly the two pieces form a three sided equilateral pyramid. In geometric terms this pyramid is really a tetrahedron (a figure with four equal sides). Although the pyramid has three visible sides which form the point at the top, the base forms the fourth side. The tetrahedron has been cut in half to form two identical pieces as shown in the photo at the left.
The solution to the puzzle is in the photo at the right. Note that the square areas of each of the 9.5cm pieces are placed facing each other, and one piece is twisted upright - thus the pyramid is formed.
As this photo of 4 pieces on the left illustrates, it is possible to cut each of the pieces of the two piece puzzle in half, making what seems an even more challenging puzzle. This Museum copy was purchased from Berea College Student Craft Industries, Berea, Kentucky in 1972. Each of these pieces are 2.4cm long x 2.8cm wide x 2.2cm high.
If one were to take 20 rosewood balls each of which measures 3cm in diameter, and attempted to stack them - could one construct a pyramid? Of course one can! Piet Hein, the well known Danish game designer did just that; however, he made the stacking task somewhat more complicated than simply stacking 20 balls.
In his adaptation, he glued 4 sets of 3 balls each into various configurations, and then 2 sets of 4 balls each into other configurations, much like a "pentomino". The pyramid is then constructed from these 6 puzzle configurations in a triangular base. That's what Pyramystery is all about. It's not easy!
Here is another "ball" pyramid puzzle. It was made by Aarikka in Finland and acquired by the Museum in 1975. The wood is comparatively light in weight.
The painted wooden balls are 2cm in diameter. The balls are joined together to form 2 groups of 4 balls in straight lines, and 2 groups of 6 balls in double rows of 3. There is no base, thus creating the pyramid takes a steady hand!
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 11, 2010