Vintage French Tanglements

In his book (along with its addendums), entitled "Petits Jeux et Casse Tete de la Belle Epoque" (Small Games and Puzzles of the Golden Age), Yves Rifaux lists over 200 French boxed puzzles manufactured during the period between 1878 and 1914. Rifaux covers many types of puzzles beyond the vintage French tanglements to which this section is devoted, including for instance many dexterity puzzles.

On first glance, these boxed French wire puzzles seem somewhat ill-formed and flimsy, but I have found them to be fairly precisely made and surprisingly robust. The boxes are frequently colorful with artistic graphics and entertaining illustrations. Some people collect vintage French boxed puzzles simply for the box artwork.

Rifaux numbers almost all the puzzles he covers sequentially starting with #1, and though he classifies each puzzle he does not group them, so they are intermixed by type throughout the numbering scheme. Also, the body of the book and the addendums describe some puzzles which are not assigned a number in the sequence.

I have managed to collect photos of almost all of the tanglement puzzles Rifaux mentions, though I own only those with the name shown in bold. In the first portion of the table, I have ordered the puzzles by Rifaux's number. When we get to those puzzles Rifaux does not cover, I have ordered them alphabetically by name. There are a few instances where I have not been able to find a picture of the box or puzzle.

Thanks to Sylvie and Gilles Legrand for the use of many photos!

#7 La Croix Lorraine
#12 Le Bracelet de Cleopatre
#18 Le Bon Geolier
#21 L'Embarras du Charpentier
#40 Les Deux Coeurs Inseparables
#42 Le Divorce
La Question du Divorce

#57 Comment Nous Separer
[Same puzzle as Les Crochets du Diable.]
#59 le Porte Veine - Jeu Amusant
#61 Le Forgeron Embarrasse
#63 Le Chasseur et sa Casquette
#65 Une Etoile dans le Croissant
#66 Mon Cousin Tireliboudin

(aka Mon Ami Jean Barressort)


#79 La Question Velocipedique
#93 Le Dragon et son Casque
#105 La Bouteille Infernale
#106 Le Souci de l'Artilleur
#107 Le Canon et son Obus
#108 L'Automobile
#144 Delivrez Mon E S'il Vous Plait
(A3.x) Le Petit Porte Veine
#160 La Question Marocaine
#166 Les Crochets du Diable
#207 L'Embarras du Terrassier
#208 La Botte Prisonniere
#209 Question du Transvaal
#210 Le Bonnet Phrygien
(C10) Le Wagon Porte Torpille
The remainder are not in Rifaux's book...
Agathe et Bernardine
Baguenaudier
Delivrez Mon Coeur
Delivrez Mon Coeur (wood & string)
L'Anneau Magique
L'Anneau Prisonnier
L'E Prisonnier
L'Etoile du Berger
L'Etoile Prisonniere
La Bague Prisonniere
La Croix du Sud
La Croix Mysterieuse
La Lanterne dans la Lune
La Triple Alliance
Le Bracelet du Sauvage
Le Bracelet Egyptien
Le Coeur Prisonnier
Le Fer a Cheval
Le Lien Soudanais
(Le Noeud Kabyle)

Les Anneaux Diaboliques
Question Romaine