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
- Clifford W. Ashley; The Ashley Book of Knots, New York, 1944
(german: Das Ashley-Buch der Knoten, Edition Maritim, Hamburg, 5. Aufl. 1997)
Chapter 33: tricks and puzzles, diagram 2611 (Pseudo-Magic-Pencil solution)
- Henry Ernest Dudeney; Puzzles and Curious Problems,
Thomas Nelson and Sons, Ltd., London 1931,
Problem 349: Releasing the Stick
- Jerry Slocum, Jack Botermans; Puzzles Old & New, U. Wash. Press, 1987, p114
(German: Geduldsspiele der Welt, Hugendubel, 1987, p114)
Note: The bet is $100.
- Jerry Slocum, Botermans; New Book of Puzzles, Freeman, New York, 1992, p78-79
Name: Buttonhole Puzzle later sold as Magic Holetite Pencil
- Jerry Slocum; The Puzzle Arcade, Klutz, 1996, ISBN 1-57054-056-X, p4
Name: The Buttonhole Killer Pencil
The book contains the buttonhole puzzle.
- Wei Zhang; Exploring Math Through Puzzles, Key Curriculum Press,
1996, ISBN 1-55953-222-X,
p29-31, Section: Loop Extension Puzzles. Name: Magic Pencil, puzzle 7
p70, Name: Bugballs (Dutch: Treiterballen, Treiterkraaltjes),
Inventors: Christian Freeling, Anneke Treep, puzzle 27
(Het Knoopeknauwertje No. 5 (April 1997))
- Gerd Oberdorfer; Phänomenale Mathe-Magie,
Zytglogge, Bern, 1994, p87
Name: Happy Puzzling-"Klammer" (a Pseudo-Magic-Pencil)
- Puzzle Craft, Kit U Handy Series, Cooperative Recreational Services Inc.,
Delaware, Ohio, no year given, p4
- Pieter van Delft, Jack Botermans; Denkspiele der Welt, Hugendubel, 1977, p118
Name: Die elastische Schlinge
- Scot Morris; The next Book of Omni Games, 1988, ISBN 0-452-26151-1, p14
Name: Pencil Problem
- Woodrow & Irmgard Carpenter, Cold Spring, KY 41076, USA
14th IPP 1994 Seattle exchange puzzle: The Buttonhole Puzzle expanded
Shows variations fixing the buttonhole puzzle.
- There is a US Patent number of 848067 for the Magic Holetite Pencil.
The Perplexing Pencil Puzzle from
AIMS Education Foundation
The Pencil Puzzle from
Sources for Pencils
Avenue Concordia 17 B, 3062 LA Rotterdam, Netherlands
Phone: +31-(0)10-2140361 Fax: +31-(0)10-2140390
Product Name: "Button hole puzzle", Product No: A395.0500
- Bartl GmbH,
Brunnthaler Str. 17, D-84518 Garching an der Alz, Germany
Phone: +49-8634-9885-0 Fax: +49-8634-9885-95
Product Name: "Teufelsschlingen", Product No's: 3539, 3535 and 3544
P.O. Box 1460, D-35058 Frankenberg, Germany
Phone: +49-6451-1863 Fax: +49-6451-24543
Product Name: "Knopflochstab"
- Sanders Mfg. Company, P.O. Box 101601, Nashville, TN 37224-1601, USA
Product Name: "Magic Hotlite Pencil", Product No: 33A
Sources for Treiterballen, Teaser Balls
Last Update: 2001-03-27
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