What Is A Tavern Puzzle

Tavern Puzzles are authentic reproductions of a type of puzzle traditionally forged by blacksmiths in the 1800s. These fun metal puzzles were used by blacksmiths to amuse their friends at country taverns and inns, and other community gathering places, in post-revolution America. Some may even have been early bar bets!

Male hands play with a Heart's Desire metal tavern puzzle

Many historians believe these puzzles and brainteasers actually had a practical value beyond entertainment. It is likely that the shapes, bends and twists of these unique steel puzzles made them a great practice tool for training apprentice blacksmiths. After learning basic techniques with puzzles like Self-Restraint, they would probably test their new skills and mental sharpness with challenging brain teasers like Heart’s Desire.

All of our Tavern Puzzles are made exclusively by Tucker-Jones House in Long Island, New York—the premiere manufacturer of metal puzzles and brainteasers. Each one has been handcrafted and individually assembled by a museum-trained blacksmith to be as authentic as possible. Ranging from 7 inches to nearly a foot in length, these puzzles can be easily held in your hands and make for a great piece of home decor when not in use.

How Do I Solve a Tavern Puzzle?

While our Tavern Puzzle collection ranges from easy to difficult, each one shares the same basic task. There is an object piece—typically a circle or heart— that must be removed. However, what makes Tavern Puzzles so special is that they’re actually two puzzles combined into one. To truly master a Tavern Puzzle, you must also be able to the return the object piece to its starting position.

A Tavern Puzzle is mechanical in nature, meaning it requires dexterity and logic - not sleight of hand. You will never have to rely on force or trickery to solve a Tavern Puzzle. While our Tavern Puzzles come with an instruction sheet that explains the objective and how to properly display the puzzle, there is no printed solution included in the box. If you’re struggling to solve your puzzle, all of the Tavern Puzzle solutions are available in your Vanishing Inc. Wonders account.

How to Take Care of Your Tavern Puzzle

Tavern Puzzles are manufactured with a mild 6mm steel that shares many of the same properties as iron. As such, they will develop a gorgeous patina the more you play them. This attractive aesthetic should not be confused with rust, which is extremely harmful to steel puzzles and can occur if they are exposed to heavy moisture or stored in a damp area for extended periods of time.

To avoid rust on your metal puzzle, apply a light application of furniture polish before storing it away. This will help it look good as new for years to come.

Explore all our puzzles