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H 250 x W 205 mm

144 pages

Highly illustrated in full colour throughout

Published Apr 2017

Archaeopress Archaeology


Hardback: 9781784915643

Digital: 9781784915650

Recommend to a librarian

Roman; Celtic; Puzzle; Padlock; Romano-Celtic; Face; Mask

Romano-Celtic Mask Puzzle Padlocks

A study in their Design, Technology and Security

By Jerry Slocum, Dic Sonneveld

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This book presents a little-known and ingenious artefact of the Roman world: a small puzzle padlock whose font plate bears a face or ‘mask’ of ‘Celtic’ style.



Preface ;
Introduction ;
Chapter 1: Types and Locations ;
Chapter 2: Cultural Attributes by Vanessa Muros ;
Chapter 3: Origin and Uses ;
Chapter 4. Mask Puzzle Padlock Solutions and Mechanisms ;
Chapter 5: Conclusions ;
Appendix 1: Catalog of the 156 Mask Puzzle Padlocks ;
Appendix 2: Padlock Groupings Based on Lock Covers by Vanessa Muros ;
Appendix 3: Analysis of Roman Mask Padlocks in the Slocum Collection by Vanessa Muro ;
Appendix 4.: Replicas of Mask Padlocks & Money Pouches ;
Appendix 5: Fakes and Reproductions ;
Appendix 6: Care of Roman Mask Padlocks by Vanessa Muros ;
Bibliography ;

About the Author

Jerry Slocum, a retired Aerospace executive, is an historian, collector and author specialising in the field of mechanical puzzles. His personal collection of over 40,000 mechanical puzzles is believed to be the world’s largest. It includes hundreds of puzzle padlocks including 34 Roman mask puzzle padlocks. He is the author of 16 earlier books on puzzles and their history including Puzzles Old and New in 1986, The 15 Puzzle, The Cube (about Rubik’s Cube), and The Tangram Book. In 2006, Slocum donated his entire puzzle collection and library of over 5,000 puzzle books to the Lilly Library at Indiana University, marking the first time a major collection of mechanical puzzles was made available to the public in an academic setting. He also founded The International Puzzle Collectors’ Party in 1978 that organises annual gatherings in Asia, Europe and the USA of as many as 450 serious puzzle collectors from all over the world.

Until his retirement in 2011, Dic Sonneveld was an Information and Computer Technology (ICT) professional at Leiden University. Jerry knew him as designer of a type of mechanical puzzles, using partly self-written software. In 1997 Jerry asked him to contribute to the research for the history of the Chinese Puzzle, better known as Tangram (which was an international puzzle rage in the early 19th century). From that time on he assisted Jerry with literature research, library research and Internet research, which resulted in The 15 Puzzle book (about the worldwide puzzle craze in 1880) and several others. All these experiences and knowledge now have culminated in the research for this book about Roman-Celtic mask puzzle padlocks. It all started in January 2013, as always, with a simple inquiry from Jerry; he wanted to know more about these “ancient trick locks”.