The aim of “Old Shackles” is to remove the center ring off the horseshoes. While it’s all fun and games now, the puzzle originated for practical purposes: cowboys in the Old West used to shackle their horses’ legs together so that they could not run away or be stolen. Indiana University owns a rare example of a horseshoe puzzle dating back to the 1880s. Dennis Sucilsky, a metalsmith with a museum background, honors this gaming tradition with a line of handcrafted puzzles based on historical examples, as well as newly innovated challenges. He has been making his version of the horseshoe puzzle since 1981.
Test your hand at this horseshoe puzzle. The solution involves three distinct steps, but we’re not telling! Give up? Solution to the puzzle can be found here.
In 1975, husband-wife team Dennis and Donna Sucilsky founded their family business and, in 1980, began making their line of puzzles out of their workshop in Long Island, New York. Since then, Sucilsky has designed and forged thousands of metal mindbenders, based on centuries-old puzzles originally used as training exercises for blacksmith apprentices. Wire puzzles (also called ring puzzles or disentanglement puzzles) are typically made of metal or string, and require the removal and disentanglement of pieces as well as their reassembly. During the Colonial era, the puzzles offered entertainment for patrons of taverns and inns as they tried to solve the series of maneuvers needed to separate the entangled metal pieces. Dennis and Donna currently offer 36 different puzzles grouped into eight categories, with each level progressively harder than the next. Dennis forges steel rods to create time-honored brainteasers as well as his own unique challenges (29 of the 36 puzzles in his line are of his own invention), including an Old Shackles horseshoe puzzle with a heart-shaped ring as wedding favors for his daughter’s wedding.
Steel ring puzzle based on the original horseshoe puzzles of the Wild West, with the objective being to remove the ring in the center. Hand-forged steel using traditional blacksmithing methods. Made in New York since 1981. (more info)
8 ¼ inches total length x 3 ½ inches at widest point (21 cm x 9 cm)
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