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The Puzzle of the 24 Tiles

Sparking off some discussion in Haldane & Fisher on Ladas Drive yesterday was a growing bundle of wooden tiles.

24 in total.

Each 8 inches square.

"Umm, what is it you're doing?"

Admittedly, it's not a daily pastime. But it was one of the tasks that Peter Lunn had set himself yesterday as he made every effort to move the Reformation Room Project on to another stage.

In the latter half of the C19th a New York postman, Noyes Chapman, invented a simple puzzle. It was a tray of tiles. Each with a number on it. One to 15, arranged in a 4 by 4 grid. The final, sixteenth tile was missing, allowing the tiles to be shuffled around the board to be mixed and then returned to the correct position to solve the puzzle.

With this simple construction, a craze was born! Everyone from the man on the street to heads of state became obsessed with this little puzzle. A modern day equivalent would be the Rubik's cube.

As one of the interactive elements in our Exhibition, we are planning a nine tile puzzle, featuring the introductory words to Martin Luther’s 95 Theses: “Out of love for the truth and the desire to make it plain.”

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