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The Hexadecimal Puzzle is the very first puzzle made by Binary Arts (1985-2003)
-- now called Think Fun (2003 - ).
Unlike all their later puzzles (which are made of plastic), this one was made of cherry wood.

There were approximately 7500 made by Bennett Wood Specialties of Zeeland, Michigan back in 1985.

It is closely related to their second puzzle,  Spinout ( later version called Elephant SpinOutŪ ) . . .
and the solutions to both of them employ the  Gray Binary code
as well as does the  Chinese Puzzle Rings and Mag-Nif's  The Brain .

Elephant SpinOutŪ was first introduced as SpinOut by Binary Arts in 1987.   It was the fourth puzzle Binary Arts ever produced and the first that was commercially successful .   Now themed for fun with elephants, it is the most direct descendant of Mr. Keister's original work with the Chinese Rings.

Elephant SpinOutŪ has won 3 prestigious awards:

[Oppenheim Toy Portfolio: Gold Seal Award - 2002]
[Canadian Toy Testing Council: Jouet 3Star Toy - 2001]
[National Parenting Publications: Honors Award - 2001]

   
Founders of ThinkFun (Binary Arts): Andrea Barthello and Bill Ritchie
with a super-sized version of their most prolific game Rush HourŪ, which has won  21 prestigious awards !! . . .
and other games in their Alexandria, VA office .

Read about the inventor of The Hexadecimal Puzzle,  William Keister (1907-1997) . . . . .
and his patent  #3,637,216 (Jan 25, 1972)







Chuck Susmilch, a retired retailer of this puzzle back in 1985, in Madison Wisconsin, used to sell them at $50.00 each. He and his daughter (who now runs the business) used to have a website called j.t.puffin's that sold a variety of merchandise including toys, Gifts & Collectibles, Stationery, Stuffed Animals, Games & Puzzles and Bath & Home products. Unfortunately, after 28 years (12 on line), they have since retired their business and gone offline.

The pics on this page are probably the best ever produced of The Hexadecimal Puzzle and put out to display on the Web.   I've done some extensive surfing which have resulted in confirming this conclusion.

The Hexadecimal Puzzle, at the moment of its marketing conception, had practically no market value at all, according to Bill Ritchie, president and co-founder of the Binary Arts company, which was instrumental in its manufacture.

In an interview with Karen Hart from The Washington Post, Sunday, December 2, 2007; Page N06.   When asked by Karen "What was your first game concept?", Bill replied, "Our first game concept was called the Hexadecimal Puzzle, and the tag line for it was "an advanced mathematical puzzle with 16 variations."   On the second question asked by Karen, "Was there much of a market for it?", Bill replied, "[Laughs.] There was almost no market. [But] that's ancient history."

This was probably due to a very low threshhold of interest in regards to the solution system involved in its solving process -- the  Gray binary code .   Twenty years ago, when it first surfaced on the retail market, there probably weren't hardly many individuals interested in binary code, except for those who worked with it on a daily basis within the computer genre, and they most likely weren't interested in playing with puzzles whose solution was associated with the daily humdrum of their specific work forte.

Now, however, somehow I feel there might be a slight resurgence of it among collectors such as myself .

Therefore, it is my goal at this point to research and collect as much information as possible on this puzzle, and establish an extremely informative webpage for others with the same interest for their perusing enjoyment .   I have also started a Hall of Hexadecimal Owners, displaying the names of all those owners who have made contact with me, in the sole expression of giving this wonderful work of art its due course of respect within the puzzle community, by accumulating every snippet of information (normal, peculiar or rare) as possible.

The pics towards the bottom of the page titled: "The Ultimate Puzzle" -- "16 Puzzles" -- "The Object" show the text that is presented all around the edges of the box cover, and explain with helpful hints -- as on the instruction pamphlets that come with the puzzle -- how to manipulate the workings of the solution.   Everything from the puzzle itself, the box, the instruction pamphlet and 'helpful hints' pamphlet are all in excellent condition, even the original price tag.

The 'removable sliding cradle' with its teeter bars (3rd picture to the right shown in the set of 3) is in the solved position, as the entire cradle assembly is able to just slide past the 'stop block' . . . out of the base.

More text info can be found on the webpage of my good friend, Jaap Scherphuis, at :
 Jaap's Puzzle Page -- The Hexadecimal Puzzle which also has the solutions to all 16 variations .

Look at the list of folks who have earned their places in the
Hall Of Hexadecimal Owners














~ The following pictures are probably the only really good ones to be found throughout the internet ~




















See the background of the  patent behind the puzzle,
as well as a detailed summary of its presentation as a binary code puzzle .
(courtesy of William Keister's patent page)

       
base without cradle            blocking keys set @ 1s                  locking pin       


Pivoting levers (teeter bars) on the sliding cradle
       
(When you push on the blocking keys assembly (pattern bars) -- towards the base, the detachable part of the base's high-back rail -- on the other side -- moves away from the main structure to allow for one of the cradle's levers to pivot)

Box cover

       
The Ultimate Puzzle                   16 puzzles                   The Object             

       
  logo/patent#          price tag             helpful hints



Below are 4 pics depicting the front (a, b) and back (a, b) sections of the instruction pamphlet .

           
pamphlet page1a                    pamphlet page1b                pamphlet page2a                    pamphlet page2b

Here is a video showing one solution being done :