The Public Paperfolding History Project

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The Cherries Puzzle / The Three Pieces Puzzle / The Card Puzzle / The Liberty Bell
 
This page attempts to record what is known about the origin and history of four related puzzles, none of which can be solved without folding the paper or card of which they are, at least partly, constructed. Please contact me if you know any of this information is incorrect or if you have any other information that should be added. Thank you.

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The Cherries Puzzle

1502

The first appearance of the Cherries Puzzle in the historical record that I know of is in the manucript 'De Viribus Quantitatis' by Luca Pacioli which was written in or around 1502. I have not been able to access the original document or an English translation but the dissertation 'Luca Pacioli and his 1500 book De Viribus Quantitatis' (which can be found at http://repositorio.ul.pt/bitstream/10451/18435/1/ulfc113829_tm_Tiago_Hirth.pdf) states that the ms says:

'Take and place 2 cherries in a letter split in half. Two cherries are strung to a piece of paper cut in a particular way and are left as a puzzle to be removed. This is an impossible object.'

And comments that:

'Pacioli makes reference to a missing illustration while explaining how to remove the cherries. It is most likely that this puzzle is the following: Take a piece of paper, cut it so that an oblong rectangular slip is created. By one of its shorter sides, make a hole next to the slip of paper. The cherries, or a string with two rings attached, are placed on the slip by folding the long rectangular bit through the hole. After unfolding the piece of paper again, the stem of the cherries secures them to the strip of paper.'

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1684

The Cherries Puzzle also appears, in both single and double forms, in the 1684 edition of Simon Witgeest's 'Het natuurlyk tover-boek'.

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The single version of the puzzle also appears:

1723

In the fourth volume of the 1723 edition of Jacques Ozanam's 'Récréations mathématiques et physiques'

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1733

In 'Enganos a Ojos Vistas, Y Diversion de Trabajos' by Pablo Minguet E Irol, which was published in Barcelona in 1733.

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1747

In 'I Giochi Numerici Fatti Arcani' by Iuseppe Antonio Alberti, which was published by Bartolomeo Borghi in Bologna in 1747.

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1759

In 'Tresor des Jeux' by Carlo Antonio was published in Geneva by Henri-Albert Gosse & Comp and in La Haye, The Netherlands, by Pierre Gosse, Junior, both in 1759.

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1765

In Part Seven of 'Die Zehenmal Hundert und Eine Kunst' by Albrecht Ernst Friedrich von Crailsheim, which was published in 1765.

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1828

As 'The Cherry Cheat' in The Boy's Own Book' by William Clarke, which was was published by Vizetelly, Branston and Company in London in 1828.

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1839

In 'El Brujo en Sociedad' by D J Mieg, which was published by Los Hijos de Dona Catalina Pinuela in Madrid in 1839.

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Another way to present the same puzzle

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1860

As 'Le Tour des Cerises' in 'L'Ancienne et la Nouvelle Collection des Tours de Magie' by M Lecomte, which was published by S Borneman in Paris in 1860.

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1864

In 'Spielbuch fur Knaben' by Hermann Wagner, which was published by Verlag von Otto Spamer in Leipzig in 1864, although the foreword is dated May 1863, which argues that the book was complete at that date.

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1880

As 'The Cherry Cheat' in the 'thoroughly revised and considerably enlarged' edition of 'The Boy's Own Book', which was published in London by Crosby, Lockwood and Co in 1880.

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1884

As 'La Probleme des Cherises' in 'Jeux et Jouet du Jeune Age' by Gaston Tissandier, which was published by G Masson in Paris in 1884, this time with the cherry stems threaded through two holes.

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1903

In 'La Recreation En Famille' by Tom Tit, which was published in Paris in 1903 by Librairie Armand Colin.

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1918

In 'Ciencia Recreativa' by Jose Estralella, which was published by Gustavo Gili in Barcelona in 1918, along with a variation similar to The Liberty Bell (see below).

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1944

In 'Ideas Practicas para Juegos y Entretenimientos' by Jorge A Duclout, the second edition of which was published in Buenos Aires in 1944. In this instance the cherries are replaced by buttons.

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The Three Pieces Puzzle

1636

As far as I know this version of the puzzle first appears in 'Deliciae physico-mathematicae, oder mathematische und philosophische Erquickstunden' by Daniel Schwenter, which was first published in 1636.

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It also appears:

1684

In the 1684 edition of Simon Witgeest's 'Het natuurlyk tover-boek'.

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1759

In Column 1076 of 'Onomatologia curiosa artificiosa et magica oder ganz natürliches Zauber-lexicon', which was published in 1759,

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1762

In Part Six of 'Die Zehenmal Hundert und Eine Kunst' by Albrecht Ernst Friedrich von Crailsheim, which was published in 1762.

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1831

In 'Mechanemata oder der Tausendkünstler' by Dr Heinrich Rockstroh, which was published in 1831.

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1839

In the 5th edition of 'Das Buch der Zauberei' by Johann August Donndorff, which was published in Vienna in 1839.

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In 'El Brujo en Sociedad' by D J Mieg, which was published by Los Hijos de Dona Catalina Pinuela in Madrid in 1839.

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1860

As 'Le Tour des Cerises' in 'L'Ancienne et la Nouvelle Collection des Tours de Magie' by M Lecomte, which was published by S Borneman in Paris in 1860.

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The Card Puzzle

1828

Essentially the same puzzle, but in another form, appears under the title 'The Card Puzzle' in 'The Boy's Own Book' by William Clarke, which was published by Vizetelly, Branston and Company in London in 1828.

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This puzzle also appears:

1839

In 'El Brujo en Sociedad' by D J Mieg, which was published by Los Hijos de Dona Catalina Pinuela in Madrid in 1839.

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1860

As 'Le Jeu de la Carte' in 'L'Ancienne et la Nouvelle Collection des Tours de Magie' by M Lecomte, which was published by S Borneman in Paris in 1860.

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1882

In 'Bright and Happy Homes' by Peter Parley, Jr, which was published in Chicago and New York by Fairbanks, Palmer and Co in 1882. My thanks to David Shall for this information.

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Das Neckende Schloschen / Die behangte herigeftalt

1819

This version of the puzzle occurs in 'Leichte Künsteleien zum Vergnügen und zum Nutzen für Kinder und Nichtkinder' by Dr Heinrich Rockstroh, which was published by Ludwig Wilhelm Wittich in Berlin in 1819.

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The Liberty Bell

1922

As far as I know this version of the puzzle, called 'The Liberty Bell', first appeared in 'Houdini's Paper Magic', which was published by E P Dutton and Company of New York in 1922.

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