For some, there’s nothing else that offers the challenge of opening a mechanical puzzle box.
The intricate design and mechanics can make them surprisingly difficult to solve.
One of the world’s best puzzle box creators happens to be an Ojibway man.
“What we have here is a multi-step puzzle, when we’re finished here it’s going to be 100 moves and so you have to get through all of the stuff that’s down below here,” says Kelly Snache in his workshop on Chippewas of Georgina Island First Nation in Ontario.
“There’s stuff that isn’t finished yet but you get in here, there’s actually real treasure, we have a 2012 year of the dragon silver coin that’s secretly hidden inside this box as well and once you just know the right maneuvers, it pops right out.
“So, a lot of things like that happen, drawers problems, spring-loaded it’s a fun experience.”
His puzzle boxes, or as some call them, mechanical boxes, are built with such intricate detail they’re sought after by collectors around the world.
“CEOs love this kind of stuff, it challenges your brain,” he says. “I have a lot of university professors, people that have been successful in business. They’re finding that these things are a lot like mental gym so that it exercises their mind because there’s a known solution and there are unknowns and you still have to solve it,” he says.
“It’s a real challenge for them, so that’s why these guys have whole rooms full of these puzzles.”
Snache says after he builds one, it doesn’t last long on the market.
“They’ve all sold, they sold within five minutes of posting the first one, yeah and so these are $8,000 Canadian,” he says.
While Snache will share his love of making puzzle boxes and what makes them interesting, he’s not about to share his secrets.
“What I love about this box is you really get to play with people’s minds, so one move to openness,” he says. “It’s hard to open.”
Snache is also sharing his love of the puzzle box with kids.
That’s why he created a specific puzzle box for the Grade 3 and Grade 4 students in his community.
All with the hopes of having someone take over his love of the puzzle box.