Edward Hordern IPP Puzzle Exchange – Boston, USA August 2006. 220 made. Presented by Brian Young. Made by Brian Young @ Mr Puzzle Australia. Designed…
Houdini’s Torture Cell sequential discovery puzzle. Brass version.
The original version of Houdini’s Torture Cell SD puzzle was made by Brian in wood for the 2011 International Puzzle Party. It has been sold out since July 2013 although there have been a number sold on specialist Auction sites since. Read the original blog here.
During 2020 Brian at Mr Puzzle worked with Zoyo Manufacturing in China to bring a brass version of the puzzle to a wider audience at an affordable price.
The original batch of 2000 released 31st January 2022 is now sold out and whilst we won’t be restocking it here at Mr Puzzle there are plenty of other retailers who probably will.
About the puzzle: The object of the puzzle is to free Houdini from The Torture Cell. To do that you’ll have to discover tools and work out how to use them
To do that you’ll have to discover the tools and work out how to use them. One feature that Brian builds into many of these types of sequential discovery puzzles is to give you something to find almost immediately; better to maintain interest in the puzzle. You’ll find that with this puzzle too. Yes, there are lots of magnets in the puzzle but no “hitting” or “banging” is necessary to solve it. There is a tool to discover for every aspect of the solve.
The idea for Houdini’s Torture Cell came from one of the locks in the incredibly complex The Opening Bat puzzle (part of the Sold Out Limited Edition 2010 series). Brian felt the idea was unique and very satisfying to solve so he revisited the idea and made a separate puzzle. Unlike The Opening Bat where the puzzle was completely hidden inside, this puzzle has been presented in such a way that most elements of the puzzle are visible to you. The puzzle is to then work out how to use those tools to solve it. You can literally sit and think about the solution without even touching the puzzle.
The theme of the puzzle celebrates Harry Houdini’s first public performance of The Torture Cell at the Circus Busch in Berlin on 12th September 1912. The original wooden version of Houdini’s Torture Cell was made for 2011 International Puzzle Party which was held in Berlin. That wooden version has been sold out for many years and thus become quite collectible, usually only available at specialist auctions for quite high prices. This is an accurate factory-produced version of that same puzzle.
Brian has supervised the manufacture in China from standard brass and acrylic stock and we’ve tried to realistically represent the quality in the photo. It’s not intended to be a high-end high-quality limited-availability puzzle. There are draw marks in the brass and occasionally there might be a small hairline crack in the acrylic behind the rivet where they’ve been hand-assembled. We’ve inspected every puzzle here in Australia to ensure what we’re sending out is reasonable.
Brian is well-known for bringing very high-quality puzzles to market. But to be able to bring Houdini to puzzlers everywhere we have this time focused purely on the puzzling aspect rather than creating a finely crafted expensive puzzle. Enjoy the ‘Ah Ha’ moment.
The original wooden version was the winner of one of the two Jury First Prizes given in the Nob Yoshigahara Puzzle Design Competition 2012 at IPP in Washington, USA in 2012.
Peter Hajek also considered the mechanism worthy of mentioning in his new book “Enter If You Can”. Published in 2021 this is a comprehensive look at secret opening puzzle boxes and puzzle locks throughout history up to the present day. A must-read!