Sam Loyd (1841-1911) is considered to be one of the premier puzzle
creators of the 19th century. His puzzles were generally accompanied by
clever drawings, which looked like the ad copy of the time. He is said to
have created over 10,000 puzzles in his lifetime.
Loyd began his career by creating chess puzzles, and quickly became famous. He soon
(by age 20) was able to make a living editing and contributing to chess periodicals.
Once established, Loyd branched out into mathematical puzzles and tangrams. He even wrote
a book, The Eighth Book of Tan, Part I where he used tangrams to explain (tongue-in-cheek, most probably) the
beginning of existence.
Loyd was also a master of self-promotion. The controversy
surrounding the 15-14 puzzle (a special case of the 15-block puzzle, which was highly popular in the late 1870's)
is the most obvious example. Loyd published the problem, claiming he had invented
it, and offered a $1,000 prize for a correct solution, knowing that it was
impossible to solve. The publicity surrounding this made Loyd a true celebrity,
though Loyd's son doubts the claim: "It was in the early '80s, when I had barely attained my 'teens, that the '14-15'
puzzle flashed across the horizon, and the Loyds were among its earliest victims."
A sampling of Sam Loyd Puzzles:
Carnival Dice Game
Dividing His Flocks
Dividing The Spoils
The 15-14 Puzzle
The Four Elopements
The St. Patrick's Day Parade
I would like to go for Sam Loyd metanode status, so if
you know of any other puzzles on E2 or elsewhere. Let me know.