Boxes are beautiful. Simple, streamlined, versatile compartments full of mystery and history that have lasting, universal appeal. There is something so satisfying and comforting about being able to compartmentalize possessions into boxes. It’s only natural that throughout history humans have been developing new ways to open up, close down, and lock people out of their containers!
As early as ancient Rome, where innovation and modernization spread like wildfire, Romans would actually send money and secure their own possessions by using special boxes and padlock contraptions. The Atlas Obscura online encyclopedia describes how “the locks were usually made of bronze and featured a faceplate sculpted into the image of a god. Janus, god of transitions and passages, was a popular subject. With few exceptions, the faceplate was hinged at the top, and flipped up to reveal a keyhole, the key to which was also sometimes crafted into a ring, worn separately. […] They were more akin to puzzle boxes than modern Master Locks.” You’ll notice that these puzzle boxes provide a unique proof of tampering, which is a subtle, elegant method of security that uses brains over brawn. The Romans would know if a messenger or other third party had tampered with their secret deliveries, similar to the way that banks seal up their overnight deposit envelopes today.
Take a look below at some of the ways Kubiya has adapted these classic ideas and designs into our own wooden style of locks and puzzle boxes:
Secret Puzzle Box - One Step Clever Puzzle Box - This clever Secret Puzzle Box is an amusing way to surprise a friend or colleague with a gift, just hand it over and watch as the recipient struggles to get to their gift! This puzzle is a great choice for beginners due to its beautiful simplicity and one-step nature.
Open Frame Impossible Puzzle - Clever Secret Opening Puzzle - The lock mechanism used in this puzzle is used in many escape rooms. We recommend this for a clever, exciting way to store or give away cash, gift cards, small presents, or even to display a special photo!
Viking Puzzle Box – The Viking puzzle box has a unique maze mechanism that is quite different from all other puzzle boxes in our sequential puzzle boxes collection. To open the box you will need to find the perfect combination of the four wheels, metal balls, and sliding panels. The fun of storing an item in this box is that the plastic cover allows the recipient to SEE and be teased by the sight of whatever you place inside while they are solving it.
Centrale Box - Puzzle Box - A very clever trick box with a secret drawer and a unique hidden maze mechanism. The puzzler tries to open the drawer by solving the hidden maze. This puzzle is small, compact, and sleek, great for storing/hiding little items. There is even a small hint built into the design of the box that adds to the fun and keeps you guessing!
The puzzles above are some of our favorites and most popular; If you’re having a hard time choosing a puzzle box to begin with, keep in mind that solutions are always available (especially if you need to solve the puzzle beforehand in order to place a gift inside). Other than that, as always, we recommend starting at a lower difficulty level and working your way up.
All of the puzzle boxes at Kubiya are gorgeous and made of quality wood. But, if you are searching for the top-most tier of beauty, some of the most gorgeous puzzle boxes on the market are of the Japanese style. Japanese puzzle boxes employ the use of natural wood hues and textures to produce their sophisticated geometric patterns. The techniques used to make these puzzle boxes have been used for generations in Japan and have been surpassed by none. No need to reinvent the wheel when the wheel is this magnificent. There is, unbelievably, no paint used on the boxes to attain their classic designs. Instead, patterns and shapes are created by laying and gluing different colored strips of wood together. Check out these authentic, diverse options that we’ve pulled from our website to showcase:
Mini Japanese Puzzle Box (7 steps) - This high-quality, hand-crafted puzzle box has a secret opening mechanism. The parts will move easily and smoothly only if done in the correct order. When it’s complete, the lid will slide open as the 7th step. We recommend this for storing littler items like jewelry (maybe a wedding ring!?)
Japanese Puzzle Box (14 steps) - This high-quality hand-crafted puzzle box has a unique sliding mechanism that requires 14 steps to open. The parts will move easily and smoothly if you do it the right way, and the space inside is one size up from the 7-step, perfect for storing slightly larger items and more complicated to solve.
Panda Japanese Puzzle Box (12+1 steps) - This puzzle box requires 12 moves, plus one special, secret move at the end to make 13 total. There is a spectacular Panda Bear pattern on the lid and a bird pattern on the back. You need to unlock several sliding panels in a specific order before you can open the box. Again, the designs are not painted. Different hues of wood are inlaid onto the surface, making this one of the most visually appealing boxes that Kubiya offers.
Secret Base Puzzle Box - Karakuri Special Edition - This Karakuri Secret Base Puzzle has two secret compartments with a unique opening mechanism. Can you discover the two hidden secret spaces? When the mechanism moves in the right order, the first secret compartment will open and then you can work your way to open the second space. The concept here is unique from many of the other boxes, making it a great choice to surprise somebody who has already solved a few puzzle boxes and may not be expecting the presence of a second compartment!
Super CUBI 324 Step YOSEGI MUKU - Limited Edition Japanese Puzzle Box - This puzzle box has a unique mechanism that is quite different from all other puzzle cube boxes in the Karakuri set. There are literally 324 moves! How difficult can it be? The answer is very. We recommend this as a thrilling challenge for an expert puzzler who finds the smaller step puzzle boxes too simple. Plus, there’s more space inside which is always a bonus.
The manufacturing of these Japanese puzzle boxes is so chic and smooth that you often can’t tell by looking if any part of the puzzle box is meant to move/slide. This makes it all the more baffling and fun once you doknow the solution! Puzzle boxes (especially of the Japanese variety) are an unexpected way to give a gift to somebody and watch them struggle to get inside. They give what might have previously been just an ordinary gift that extra special quality by turning the packaging into a gift as well. These adorable little boxes could also set up a heartfelt, original marriage proposal. The 7-step Japanese puzzle box sold here at Kubiya looks like it was made to hold a beautiful ring, and it sure can.
So, if you had a secret puzzle box - what would you keep in it? We hope the options above have inspired you to think about fun ways to store your own treasures and pass down new treasures to family and friends.
Finally, if you’ve read this far: thank you!! As a special reward for our most attentive readers, we have a special offer. Just email us the phrase “secret banana” and we will send you a special, top-secret offer that is unique to this post.
Cheers and happy puzzling!