The Puzzling World of Polyhedral Dissections
By Stewart T. Coffin

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Preface

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This book had its conception in 1974, when my small cottage industry of designing geometrical puzzles and handcrafting them in wood was then in its fourth year. It began as a newsletter of very limited circulation having to do with mechanical puzzles in general, especially those that could be made in the classroom or workshop. It was intended for persons who enjoy designing puzzles, making them, collecting them, or just solving them. Its purpose was as much to gather information as to disseminate it. In 1978, the various issues were assembled into a booklet. Later, more chapters were added, and it was published as a book of sorts called Puzzle Craft. It was put together and bound right here in one corner of my workshop. A revised and improved edition was published in 1985.

Using the 1985 edition of Puzzle Craft as a basis, the material was extensively revised and considerably expanded. The scope was narrowed to focus on geometrical dissection puzzles, especially those that lend themselves to construction in the workshop or in the industrious factory of the imagination. The hardbound first edition was published by Oxford University Press in 1990. A softbound edition was published in 1991.

This HTML edition contains the same text as the 1990 and 1991 books. It has been enhanced with many color photographs of puzzles made by myself and other craftsmen along with a list of credits. A list of figures and tables has also been added.

In addition to the numerous individuals whose valued contributions to this book are acknowledged at the appropriate places within the text, the following persons have contributed information or helped in some other way: Saul Bobroff, Leonard Gordon, Edward Hordern, Stanley Isaacs, Joseph Lemire, John Loeser, William Perkins, Thomas Rodgers, Louis Rosenblum, Norton Starr, and Roland Zito-wolf.

For the HTML edition, John Rausch performed the HTML conversion while his daughter, Sara Rausch and Jan Jacobsen proofread.

Kathy Jones translated my hopeless grammar and spelling into what I am assured is proper English and made many valuable suggestions, as did also Allan Boardman. Jerry Slocum checked the manuscript for historical accuracy. Special thanks also to David Singmaster.

Assisting in workshop and office were my wife Jane and, in bygone days, the three elves - Abbie, Tammis, and Margaret.

Stewart T. Coffin
Lincoln, Massachusetts 1990, 1998

1990-2012 by Stewart T. Coffin
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