15 Puzzle is a sliding square puzzle commonly (but incorrectly) attributed to Sam Loyd. However, research by Slocum and Sonneveld (2006) has revealed that Sam Loyd did not invent the 15 puzzle and had nothing to do with promoting or popularizing it. The puzzle craze that was created by the 15 puzzle began in January 1880 in the United States and in April in Europe and ended by July 1880.
Loyd first claimed in 1891 that he invented the puzzle, and he continued until his death a 20 year campaign to falsely take credit for the puzzle. The actual inventor was Noyes Chapman, the Postmaster of Canastota, New York, and he applied for a patent in March 1880.
The 15 puzzle consists of 15 squares numbered from 1 to 15 that are placed in a box leaving one position out of the 16 empty. The goal is to reposition the squares from a given arbitrary starting arrangement by sliding them one at a time into the configuration shown above. For some initial arrangements, this rearrangement is possible, but for others, it is not.