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Vintage Technology: Toys: Metal Puzzles (23)

Who didn't have these toys as a kid in the 60/70s and loved twisting and turning them?  A guide to (I think)  the UK's most popular brands with solutions and analysis of the geometry.  Any help on dating these puzzles and correcting the contents listings would be most welcome.  Images of puzzles are generic and may not be representative of that particular set. Also known as Wire Puzzles, Mechanical Puzzles, Tanglement Puzzles and Disentanglement Puzzles.

There is very little useful information on the web about these puzzles (which is the whole point of this web site - to explore new areas and offer free info).
If any one can throw some light on dates or used to work for these companies I would be most grateful if they got in touch.

Bell's 6
(195?)

Chad Valley 4
(195?)
Chad Valley 6
(195?)
Chad Valley  12
(196?)
E&S 6
(195?)

HPG: It appears that the following listings include a diagonal-banner HPG series that were variations on a theme, different puzzles, different colour boxes but the same design and overlapping descriptions - any info would be most appreciated - were they changed every year or for sale at the same time?  Sometimes same colour boxes but different contents - very confusing.

HPG 6
(195?)
HPG 6
(195?)
HPG 6
(195?)
HPG 6
(195?)
HPG  6 Type 1
(195?)
HPG  6 Type 2
(195?)
HPG  6 Type 3
(195?)
HPG  6 Type 4
(195?)
HPG  9 Type 1
(195?)
HPG  9 Type 2
(195?)
HPG  9 Type 3
(195?)
The Kay 6
(195?)
Merit 6 Type 1
(1955+)
Merit 12 Type 1
(1955+)
Merit 12 Type 2
(1955+)
International Card Company
(191?)
Zodiac (Toys) Ltd 8
(197?)

Unknown makers

Twisty Teasers 12
(197?)

The metal puzzles are broken down into various types (my own definitions, not Dick Hess Compendium related):
Type 1: Twist and separate.  Simple separation by aligning two gaps at 90 degrees.  The shapes can consist of crossed-circles, fluted-circles, L-shaped loops, triangles and paper clips but the idea is the same.  Variations include long-armed circles and triple combinations.
Type 2: Locked-in shapes.  A smaller shape is locked in by a larger, but not large enough shape.  Often released by passing through the end of the retaining piece.
Type 3: Keyhole manoeuvre.  Use one piece through another to (easily) navigate through the lock.
Type 4: Twisted manoeuvre:  Variation on the Type 1 puzzle that involves multiple twisting to eventually unlock a simple shape from a spiral or align two different pass-through parts.
Type 5: Maze: Involves going through a series of positions, in a particular order to eventually separate the parts.

...and the various brands ( a brief history).
Merit: UK company that issued a range of puzzles of quite high quality, if limited variation, by J&L Randall Ltd.
Kay: UK (London) family company that issued a range of games and puzzles of quite high quality.
International Card Company: Formed in 1903 and taken over by de la Rue in 1919 to be renamed Gibson Games (aka HPG).  Early products were mostly card-based.
HPG: H.P.G & S Ltd (aka HP Gibson & Sons Ltd, aka Gibson Games).  UK (London) company that was founded in 1919 and still around today making jigsaws and games.
Chad Valley: Game company since 1860 that is still trading to this day.  They were an early innovator of creating links with TV - such as The Sooty Show and bought by Palitoy (the creator of the MB games brand) in 1978.  They then specialised in toys for children from pre-school to ten years old and was exclusive to the UK department store Woolworth's - as it was owned by them (since 1988).  With the collapse of Woolworth's the brand was purchased by Home Retail Group in 2009 (which is the holding group for Argos and Homebase) which means that Chad Valley product is available through Argos only at the time of writing (2011).
Bells: London-based toy company from at least 1933 to 1966 - see puzzle entry for more details.
Zodiac (Toys) Ltd: Toy store UK chain founded in the late 1960s offering pocket-money toys. It was a division of Maynards Confectionery and operating between 1969 and 1989.