Thursday, 10 October 2013

Popplock T8

Name
Popplock T8

Designer
Rainer Popp, who is perhaps the undisputed master of trick/puzzle lock design. Since his first lock the T1, Rainer has come up with a new puzzle lock virtually every year.


For all my reviews of Popplocks from T2 to T7 in this blog, please click below:-
1. T2
2. T3
3. T4
4. T5
5. T6
6. T7

Manufacturer
Rainer Popp. Unfortunately no longer available from the usual online retailers such as Puzzlemaster and Grand Illusions. May be available from Rainer direct or possibly Wil Strijbos.

Type & Classification
Trick/puzzle lock.

Dimensions
14cm (Length) x 3cm (Width) and 8.5cm (Height). Very heavy!

Materials & Construction
Lock body and shackle are both made of stainless steel, with some brass bits. In the tradition of Popplocks, supreme quality and manufacture with a very high price to match.

Overview
After the somewhat less than positive (and in some quarters very critical) reaction to the earlier T7 by puzzlers, many of whom had felt let down by the puzzling experience, I think Rainer has been able to regain and dominate the high ground in puzzle lock design with the T8.

The T7 is water under the bridge. As far as I can tell, every puzzler that I have been in contact with, and from what I can glean from the Internet, Facebook, puzzle forums etc, the T8 appears to be getting a standing ovation. Hence the quick sell-out by puzzle retailers, notwithstanding the very high price tag.


The T8 breaks away from the traditional "padlock look" and instead adopts a contemporary, clean and very modern styling I am add. At first glance, the uninitiated may not even think its a lock. The T8 has a stainless steel body, as opposed to the usual brass. This is only the second time Rainer has chosen to use steel; the first being the limited edition T2 (or T2VA).

The shackle runs through the cylindrical lock body which at one end sticks out a brass knob with a protruding red dot. The other end is engraved with Rainer's Popplock logo. The T8 comes without a key, so obviously it is intended that you can open the lock without one.

Rainer usually has a number of tricks up his sleeve when it comes to the Popplocks so I was trying to use all my experience with the previous six Popplocks to figure out what possible mechanism might there be which is holding the shackle in place. The T8 took me a long time; over several days of intermittent puzzling before I came upon the solution. And even here, it was not a case of logical deduction or analysis but more through trial and error (read "random trying this and that").

In the end, after I had unshackled the T8, I could only marvel at the ingenuity of the design. The solution is really so simple and elegant; but of course only after having figured it out and with hindsight.

Difficulty Level
Very difficult when you are struggling to find out the solution. Most puzzlers are stuck after the first one or two steps. Some very experienced puzzlers have taken days to solve.  But simple to execute once you know how to. Very easy (and fun) repeatable solving.

From Left: T2, T3, T4, T5, T6, T7 & T8
Only the T3, T7 & T8 do not have keys or key holes
Summary
The T8 scores top marks in my book not only for quality and design (very unique and unusual mechanism/trick), but also for the puzzling experience. Expensive but well worth it. As I mentioned in a Facebook post, I think from a practical standpoint given the way the T8 is solved, it can also actually be used like a real lock, tho' I doubt if anyone would!

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