"A good puzzle should be simple in idea. It should explain itself without any long instructions and it should look attractive." Robert William Journet, 1927
Dexterity puzzles - also known as palm puzzles, games of skill and hand-held games - have been a source of fascination for adults and children since the Nineteenth Century.The simple hand-eye challenge of rolling a ball into a hole, or sliding, nudging and tilting a capsule through a maze, has proved to be among the most delightful, maddening, and enduring diversions of the modern age, despite, or perhaps because of its sheer simplicity. Soon after the games became popular with the public beginning in the late 1800s, they were produced in large numbers in the United States, England, France, Japan and Germany. The games could be found in doctors' offices, train stations, and in rainy-day game rooms of seaside resorts - in essence, anywhere that required waiting. They were even nicknamed "patience games."
But whether straightforward or tricky, dexterity puzzles are objects of popular culture, as reflections of history, as advertisements, illustrations and graphic design they are a rich and revealing world. In The Palm Of Your Hand features Barbara Levine's collection of dexterity puzzles from around the globe, dating from the earliest fads of the 1880's to the precursors of today's electronic hand-held games. Her collection is considered one of the largest in the world, was featured in 2012 in Cabinet Magazine and was the focus of a 2002 exhibition entitled In the Palm of Your Hand: Dexterity Games 1880-1960, presented by the San Francisco Main Pubic Library.
LET THE GAMES BEGIN!
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