Problem: The Antiquary's Chain

An antiquary possessed a number of curious old links, which he took to a blacksmith, and told him to join together to form one straight piece of chain, with the sole condition that the two circular links were not to be together. The following illustration shows the appearance of the chain and the form of each link.


Now, supposing the owner should separate the links again, and then take them to another smith and repeat his former instructions exactly, what are the chances against the links being put together exactly as they were by the first man? Remember that every successive link can be joined on to another in one of two ways, just as you can put a ring on your finger in two ways, or link your forefingers and thumbs in two ways.

Solutions: 1

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Project Gutenberg

  1. Dudeney, H. E.: "Amusements in Mathematics", The Authors' Club, 1917

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