Puzzle Once Owned by Olive C. Hazlett, The Famous and Baffling Checker Board

Puzzle Once Owned by Olive C. Hazlett, The Famous and Baffling Checker Board

Usage conditions apply
This paper puzzle has fourteen cardboard pieces that can be arranged in different ways to form an 8 x 8 checkerboard. The pieces fit in a cardboard box. Pencil marks on the pieces number them from 1 to 14.
The lid of the box indicates that there were over seventy-eight different solutions. A sticker on the inside of the lid indicates that 85 solutions were known and that Vasen Industries of Davenport, Iowa would pay $5.00 for any new solution. A mark on the lid of the box reads: THE FAMOUS and BAFFLING (/) CHECKER BOARD (/) PUZZLE (/) 15c. A mark inside the lid reads: THE VASEN MFG. COMPANY (/) Davenport, Iowa
According to Slocum and Botermans, "The first checkerboard puzzle seems to have originated in 1880, when a certain Henry Luers obtained a U.S. patent for a 'Sectional Checkerboard', consisting of fifteen differently shaped pieces of complete squares of a checkerboard."
According to newspaper records, the Vasen Manufacturing Company was incorporated in 1927. It apparently was still in business in 1964.
Associated with the mathematician Olive C. Hazlett. For related objects, see acquisitions 1998.0314 and 2015.3004.
Jerry Slocum and Jack Botermans, Puzzles Old and New How to Make and Solve Them, Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1986, p. 14.
The Davenport Democrat and Leader, Davenport, Iowa, May 22, 1927, p. 15.
Currently not on view
Object Name
date made
after 1926
mid-twentieth century
Vasen Manufacturing Company
place made
United States: Iowa, Davenport
Physical Description
paper (overall material)
overall: 2.3 cm x 10.6 cm x 10.6 cm; 29/32 in x 4 3/16 in x 4 3/16 in
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Credit Line
Gift of Hermitage of St. Joseph
Mathematical Recreations
See more items in
Medicine and Science: Mathematics
Science & Mathematics
Women Mathematicians
Data Source
National Museum of American History
Nominate this object for photography.   

Our collection database is a work in progress. We may update this record based on further research and review. Learn more about our approach to sharing our collection online.

If you would like to know how you can use content on this page, see the Smithsonian's Terms of Use. If you need to request an image for publication or other use, please visit Rights and Reproductions.


Add a comment about this object