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Sam Loyd – A Brief Biography

Part 2

By Tony Fatseas (Edited by Dave Fisher)

Get Off The Earth

Get Off The Earth Puzzle

In 1896, Loyd patented the 'Get off the Earth Puzzle' which is regarded as his greatest achievement and perhaps the greatest mechanical puzzle ever invented. It consists of thirteen warriors encircling a globe. Rotating the globe, one warrior appears to vanish but which one is he and where does he go? Millions of these puzzles were distributed as give-aways advertising everything from newspapers to tea. Following the success of this puzzle, a variation called, 'The Lost Man', possibly inspired by a successful musical of the time, was released in 1897. Still later, another version, 'Teddy and the Lion', issued in 1909, was said to have been inspired by President Teddy Roosevelt's expedition to collect specimens for the Smithsonian.

Over a thousand letters a day

Loyd's puzzles were in great demand and he headed the puzzle department for the Brooklyn Daily Eagle as well as other newspapers and magazines in the United States and abroad. He offered prizes for solutions to his puzzles and that resulted in him receiving, at times, over a thousand letters a day. From 1907 until 1910, he consolidated many of these puzzles in a monthly publication, Our Puzzle Magazine.

In his later years, Loyd initiated his son, Sam Loyd Jr., into the art of puzzle making and they collaborated until April 10, 1911, when, sadly, Loyd Sr. passed away at home in Brooklyn, USA. After his death, Loyd Jr. continued publishing his father's puzzles and also created many of his own while taking over his father's magazine and newspaper duties. In 1914, he published Sam Loyd's Cyclopedia of 5000 Puzzles, Tricks, and Conundrums, which is considered by some to be the most exciting puzzle book ever published. This was followed by Sam Loyd's Puzzles: A Book for Children, Sam Loyd's Tricks & Puzzles and Sam Loyd and his Puzzles. Loyd Junior died in February, 1934 and was buried near his father in New York.

Next page: Try some of Sam Loyd's puzzles

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