The History of BB Puzzles -

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About BB Puzzles

According to The Oxford English Dictionary, the word “puzzle” dates to the end of the 16th century and first appeared in a 1595 book entitled The Voyage of Robert Dudley. It is said to have been derived from the Medieval French word “aposer,” meaning perplex, bewilder or confound. The use of the word in reference to toys is relatively recent, dating to the mid-19th century.
In addition to being an entertaining pastime, studies have found that working on puzzles of various types can improve memory, cognitive function, creativity, concentration, problem-solving skills, fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination. The Association for Psychological Science and The Alzheimer’s Association are among health advocates that have touted the advantages of “playing” with puzzles.
Enjoyed in many different forms by millions of people around the world, puzzles are celebrated annually on January 29, which has been unofficially designated as National Puzzle Day. The day was created as a lesson plan for teachers in 2002 by syndicated columnist Jodi Jill.

BB Puzzles are a form of “mechanical” puzzles, which are 3D puzzles designed to challenge the dexterity of the player. Housed in the National Museum of Pakistan, the world’s oldest BB puzzle dates to as early as 2550 BC. The goal of a BB puzzle is to maneuver a number of small balls contained in a sealed transparent container (similar to a petri dish) into a “home base,” often around obstacles. Over the years, the balls have been made from a number of materials, including clay, wood, lead, steel and even mercury.
One of the most famous BB puzzles was Pigs in Clover, created by Charles M. Crandall. The object was to corral a number of BBs into a "pig pen" at the center of the puzzle. Randall’s puzzle lead to a BB craze in the late 1880’s, during which more than 8000 puzzles a day were manufactured. This puzzle was reproduced by Milton Bradley beginning in the 1930’s and can still be collected today. will soon offer an updated version of this classic.

With incredible popularity around the world, the London-based R. Journet & Company vastly expanded the variety of BB puzzles available, beginning in 1891. In addition to offering nature, animal and nautical scenes and images of popular culture like sports, circuses and cartoons, the puzzles were a very cost-effective product advertisement; and since they were lightweight and easy to carry, BB puzzles became very popular with soldiers, often containing “cheesecake” images and propaganda messages.

But as electronic games rose to popularity in the 1970’s, BB puzzles gradually faded in popularity until they all but disappeared from the mass marketplace. BB is proud to bring them back in all their glory at an affordable cost. We can provide you with generic stock BB puzzles or custom souvenir BB puzzles with a minimum order of only 12 pieces.

Even our most cynical friend Jen had a blast playing with a custom BBPuzzle!

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Information subject to change without notice. Site last updated January, 2019
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