Professor Hoffman, in his book Puzzles Old And Newpublished in 1893 in London, described the problem of classifying puzzles as follows:
"The chief difficulties I have found in compiling the present collection have been nomenclature and classification. In view of the varieties of taste, some preferring a mathematical, some a mechanical problem - one person a trial of skill, another an exercise of patience - it seemed desirable to have as many categories as possible. On the other hand, the more numerous the divisions, the more difficult does it become to assign a given puzzle definitely to one or another. In many instances, the same item might, with equal propriety, be classed under either of several categories."
About half of Professor Hoffman's book dealt with mechanical puzzles. The remainder with mathematical, logic and similar puzzles. In 1986, Puzzles Old And New by Jerry Slocum and Jack Botermans was the first significant book published dealing solely with mechanical puzzles. This book established a classification that has been used by subsequent books and puzzle collectors. It is as follows:
Most of the puzzles in Puzzle World fall into the Put-Together, Take-apart, Interlocking or Impossible Object categories because this is where most of the high-quality handcrafting takes place. The other categories will at least have one or more representative examples.
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