Abstract Shaped Keychain Puzzles
Spheres, Cubes, and Barrels
Because they are all scanned from my own collection, the puzzles on this page are shown with the correct relative size to one another (unlike the rest of the keychain pages).
The dozen keychains below all have the same puzzle mechanism, meaning that they all have the same number of pieces put together in the same way. The top row has a neon, Czech, and 2 French keychains including a stylized globe. The next six appear very similar to each other, but have differences in kinds of plastic, quality, and particularly keychain attachments. The drop form below is also a variation on the same puzzle mechanism. The orange and blue puzzle, bottom left, is the very first version of this puzzle, and is reputed to be the very first keychain puzzle (1939). Although it had no keychain, it started the whole keychain puzzle craze that peaked in the 1950s.
The nine keychains below also share the same burr type of puzzle mechanism with six pieces each. Again slight differences in plastic and the attachment of the keychains show different makers are at work for many of them. Why they don't just come up with a new puzzle instead of copying each other is beyond me. At bottom are a soccer ball, basketball, solid poolball, and striped poolball. I think all 15 poolball numbers were made. I only have some. If you have any, please let me know which number(s) you have at firstname.lastname@example.org so that I can verify that all numbers were made. (I'm also buying!!)
The left column of three cubes below all use the same puzzle mechanism as the dozen spheres at the top of the page. The Czech cube on the bottom has a unique slight variation on the pieces which you can see by comparing the lower left corners of the two lower cubes in that column. The two spheres at right use the same puzzle mechanism which I call "sliced" because the pieces are flat slices of the sphere when it is apart. The mechanism is similar but different from the 5 "sliced" cubes below. These 5 have an identical mechanism, differing only in attachment of keychain or addition of advertising text. The one on the left curiously has no place whatsoever to attach a keychain.
The middle cube and sphere in the top row above use the same puzzle mechanism which is similar to that used by the barrels below. That is because these are miniature keychain versions of popular wooden german and japanese (kumiki) puzzles from the early part of last century. One of these is even wooden, the only wooden keychain puzzle I have seen. The 3 on the left have identical puzzle mechanisms with 12 pieces each, while the wooden one is a simplified version, and the Czech one on the right is even simpler with only 6 pieces. The second one is French. In the 1960s, France had a huge boom of keychains made in all sorts of interesting shapes, many advertising products or companies. Only a few of these were puzzles, but they made a very nice addition to the world of keychain puzzles.