1999:Finding kindred spirits

This page was prepared for the 25th anniversary of the products we introduced in 1999, part of Kadon's history notes. Click on the links for full descriptions. (Links open in new window.)

Our twentieth year! By now we had a fine collection of collaborators, puzzle creators with original ideas that fit our family. Some we developed and made as permanent treasures. Others, produced and abandoned by others, we adopted as orphans while the supply lasted. And some we crafted only as limited editions for special events. Those get only historical notes here and are no longer available.

A marvelously talented mathematician/artist/puzzler friend of ours from The Netherlands, Anneke Treep, was visiting Kadon in Maryland one summer a quarter century ago. Sitting on the carpeted floor of our workroom surrounded by puzzles, she was inspired to create a set of tiles that could assemble to look like 3-color cubes. Soon we had a collection of beautiful figures to challenge any puzzler, and Cubits was born. Three years earlier we had published Anneke's superb Diamond Rainbow. Art and math joined is one of Anneke's specialties. She even crochets geometric shapes.

Scott Kim invented Quintapaths when he was only 14, a sure sign that he would have a significant career in graphics, math, and computer design when he got out into the real world. His credentials are nicely collected in Wikipedia. Check it out. When Scott showed Kate his idea of 20 flat strips, size 1x5 (the "I" pentomino), each with a different number of black squares on top, she immediately saw its incredible potential. Researching more shapes to solve, where the black squares form artistic patterns on top of an assemblage, and finding "Quintapaths" the perfect name for the set, Kadon published it in 1999 as a stunning and playable work of art. It's a classic. Scott went on and built his decades-long career in technical innovations and online games and puzzles, with a specialty in "ambigrams", an art form where words and hames look the same upside down as well.

Grand SnowflakeTM
This grandest of our Snowflake series (in 15x18" tray) has 70 all-different dainty tiles. See its little brothers' history in our 1994 and 1995 notes. Part of our growing expansion into big, bold, artistic versions of our standard-size puzzles, the Grand Snowflake adds grander challenges to finding solutions and a luminous, stained-glass look to any room (it comes with an easel). Display it horizontally or vertically, as best suits your decor. Assembles in hundreds of ways, not all necessarily with the color stripes you see here.

This majestic design was proposed a quarter century ago by our former associate Ward Hollins, famous for his exquisite craft of close-up magic. He enthusiastically joined our theme of geometric permutations and their purity of concept in defining and naming the Tri-Jazz set. Each of the 54 tiles contains three differently proportioned triangles: equilateral, isosceles, and right triangle. Each tile is a parallelogram equivalent to two rhombs joined. We've named them "rhombdominoes". What glorious shape and color symmetries the puzzler can create with this set! You'll never run out of beauties to discover, in and out of its 18" framed tray.

Pyramid Perplexities
Gordon Bros. was a puzzle company owned by two brothers, Len and Jerry Gordon. Their most famous puzzles were ball pyramids, a small one called the Perplexing (6 pieces) and a large one, the Giant, with 9 pieces. Kate met Len at a puzzle party around 1982 and was easily persuaded to add Len's pyramid puzzles to Kadon's catalog. After 17 years, Len ran out of some parts and Kadon bought only his elegant crystal pieces and, in 1999, started to make our own acrylic bases instead of the plain old molded plastic that Len had supplied. By 2017 we could no longer get parts and had to say farewell to the ball pyramids. The whole story is archived in our puzzle showcase.

Collectors' Editions
The International Puzzle Party is held annually, alternating among several countries. Attendees bring special designs of unique new puzzles to tantalize and exchange with the other puzzle collectors. Kadon is occasionally asked to produce 100 or more of such editions, and in 1999 we made two batches, with a few extra copies left over to sell as special "guest" puzzles, while the supply lasted.

Holey Rectangle: Invented by Junichi Yananose for a Japanese puzzle party, the goal is to match all the half-circles into full circles. Very, very difficult. Even we haven't solved it yet. Solving by computer would be cheating. Notice that each piece is the size of 3 squares forming a V, and each piece has 2 half-squares in different locations. They are sold out.

Quadrafters: The pieces are 2, 3, and 4 "drafters" triangles in size, in all possible shapes. They exactly fill an 8x8 square. Their tray is 8x9, with one long 1x8 bar that can be embedded anywhere within a solution so it connects opposite sides. The tiles are called "drafters" after the triangle used by draftsmen, with 30-60-90 degrees. Think of it as a domino cut diagonally. They are sold out.

[To be continued in 2025.]

  • A Quarter-Century Retrospective  (1980-2005)
  • 1982-2007:   The first wave of growth
  • 1983-2008:   The lesson of quality
  • 1984-2009:   Some things old, some things new
  • 1985-2010:   Guests and clones
  • 1986-2011:   Thinking big... and bigger
  • 1987-2012:   Growing three ways
  • 1988-2013:   Compounding complexity
  • 1989-2014:   Grand visions
  • 1990-2015:   Herculean heights
  • 1991-2016:   Happy marriages
  • 1992-2017:   Diamonds forever
  • 1993-2018:   Opulence in acrylic and wood
  • 1994-2019:   Angles, gold and gala
  • 1995-2020:   Tilting towards tilings
  • 1996-2021:   Gorgeous geometrics
  • 1997-2022:   Big and little
  • 1998-2023:   Boards and beauties

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