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Metal Puzzles: The Kay Metal Puzzles (6)
Undated (195?) set of puzzles.

(c) Emil Dudek 2011

Box of six metal puzzles consisting of lid in two colour printed card and base (white).  Approximately 140mm x 112m x 18m (w x h x d) which probably had internal dividers which are missing in my example. 

Instructions are printed on a single thin sheet on one side, folded in half to fit the box.

Made by Kay.  Made in England, reference number 1050 (whilst the instructions have the reference number 1051). 

Call for help.  I cannot find out anything about Kay other than it could be an American-headed company and may be linked to KB Games - any help would be most welcome as the web appears to be pants for info on vintage toys (see update at the bottom of this page).

High quality set with good variation.

From the image design and printing quality this looks like early 1950s - but may be even earlier. 

 
Instructions Comments

The ABC Puzzle
Manipulate the opening of the C through the various grooves, remembering that the final groove where it becomes detached is in the centre of the middle bar of the B.

Type 5 puzzle:
Maze which involves going through a series of positions, in a particular order to eventually separate the parts. Not very common puzzle but a little too easy.

The 2 Keys Puzzle
Slide the key with the opening through the various grooves up the stem of the other key, and it will come off at the handle.

Type 5 puzzle:
Maze which involves going through a series of positions, in a particular order to eventually separate the parts. Not very common puzzle but a little too easy.

The Pigtail Puzzle
The secret of this puzzle is to hold the short ends of each pigtail, one in each hand, with the long  looped ends away from you.  Now slip the right hand looped end behind the left hand one, and by twisting slightly the pigtails will come apart.

Type 1 puzzle:
Long-armed crossed-circle diagonal pass-through.  Line up the two linear gaps at 90 degrees and pull apart.
The 3 Link Puzzle
This puzzle comprises [sic] three interlocked links.  Manipulate a little until the three straight parts of two of the links will slide along one another and make a chain which can easily be separated by sliding the adjoining links along their straight parts.  The chief part of this puzzle is to find which two of the three links can be first separated.
Type 1 puzzle:
Triple paperclip diagonal pass-through.  Basic shapes with simple separation. Line up the two linear gaps at 90 degrees and pull apart, again and again.

This instruction example is one of the best I have viewed.

The 3 Ring Puzzle
This consists of three rings looped together.  By a little manipulation it will be found that the openings of two of the rings will slip along one another so as to form a chain.  The three rings of this chain can then easily be separated in a similar manner.  The chief part of this puzzle is to find which two of the three links can be first separated.

Type 1 puzzle:
Triple paperclip diagonal pass-through.  Basic shapes with simple separation. Line up the two linear gaps at 90 degrees and pull apart, again and again.

This instruction example is one of the best I have viewed.

The 2 Link Puzzle
There are three bends in each link of this puzzle.  Hold one link in each hand by the centre bend and manipulate them until the two straight parts of each link will slide along one another and the links will become separated.

Type 1 puzzle:
Twin L-shaped loop diagonal pass-through. Basic shapes with simple separation. Line up the two linear gaps at 90 degrees and pull apart.

These instructions are rubbish! (what three bends?).

Update: April 2011: Anton from the Netherlands contacted me about some information he had about Kay - many thanks.  This leads me to believe that the family-run, London-based company was filing patents for various game ideas under the name of Kay (Sports & Games) Ltd, Carlisle Road, The Hyde, London, N.W.9.  They range from Dartboard Sets (Bernard Kempner, June 1938) to Disguise Kits (John Douglas Kempner, May 1964).  From this, as well as dart boards, board games (like Bagatelle) and metal puzzles, they also made electrical (such as Morse code keys) toys, die cast car toys, lead miniatures and chemistry sets.  It appears to me that the name Kempner, being German in its roots, would not have been popular in the UK at the time, so that may be why the name Kay Games was invented?

Kay Morse Key (c) Anton Klok 2011

Kay Morse Key (c) Anton Klok 2011

These photos were kindly supplied by (and are copyright of) Anton Klok, 2011 and are included as they demonstrate the range of products that Kay Sports and Games Ltd. produced, and they fit in well with the theme of this web site.  As a substantial collector of vintage telegraph equipment, Anton remarks that children's toys of this sort are quite in the minority.

Update: January 2012: I am obviously not the only person to be struggling to find out information about Kay Games. Barnabe has sent me a lovely image of a football game recently acquired in the UK, that required batteries to light the bulbs: a cross between pinball and bagatelle. Thank you!

(c) Barnabe 2012

Floodlit Football: This image kindly supplied by (and copyright of) Barnabe 2012.

Interesting, as it must have had a series of ball-driven switches to light the torch bulbs.  This confirms that Kay were a maker of quite sophisticated games using electric circuits.  Just like we all grew up with "Operation".

I would really like to find out more about Kay Games please, if anyone has any info or used to work for them - get in touch!