Magic Holetite Pencil

The famous American puzzle inventor Sam Loyd was asked by the head of the New York Life Insurance Co., John McCall, to make an advertising puzzle that thaier salesmen could take with them, and that would make their clients remember its message. Loyd went home and returned to McCall the next day with a small stick attached to a loop of green cord. The stick looked like a policeman's billy club and it was slightly longer than the loop. McCall failed to be duly impressed. "What's the purpose of it?" he asked Loyd. Whereupon Loyd took McCall by his lapels, stuck the cord through the buttonhole and the stick in turn through the loop. "Alright," he said, "let's make a bet. If within half an hour, you've gotten the stick out, without cutting the cord, I'll give you one dollar. If not, you owe me one." McCall pulled and pushed and, in short, spent 30 minutes of his valuable time trying in vain to remove the stick. After his time was up, Loyd accepted his dollar with the words: "In return for a $10,000 life insurance policy from NYLI, I'll take the thing right off of you!" Now McCall was impressed. "By this our clients will surely remember our salesmen!" The Buttonhole Puzzle became one of Loyd's most successfull puzzles and it created the phrase "to buttonhole" someone.

Slocum, Botermans; New Book of Puzzles, Freeman, New York, 1992, p78-79


Sources for Pencils

Sources for Treiterballen, Teaser Balls

Last Update: 2001-03-27
Torsten Sillke

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