In the late 1800’s and early 1900’s, British mathematician Charles Howard Hinton developed a system for visualizing the fourth dimension in his books “A New Era of Thought” and “The Fourth Dimension”. It involved manipulating a set of colored cubes, known as Hinton cubes, in order to simulate the rotations of a four-dimensional hypercube. Now in his (similarly titled) book “The Fourth Dimension”, Rudy Rucker says that the publisher of “A New Era of Thought” used to sell sets of Hinton cubes:

It was at one time possible to purchase sets of Hinton cubes from his publisher.

Page 122 of this book provides more details about Hinton’s publisher Swan Sonnenschein & Co.’s making and selling sets of Hinton cubes.

My question, do any of these commercially produced sets of Hinton cubes still exist? Or if a complete set doesn’t exist, do some cubes from a set at least exist?

If there are no extant cubes made by the publisher, what is the most recent record of them being extant? illustration of Hinton Cubes

  • If no historian has an answer here, it is worth trying to ask this question on hsm.stackexchange.com – Evargalo Feb 8 at 14:32
  • Mathematics could also be a good place to ask. If they are just painted cubes, it shouldn't be all that hard to replicate them (provided that the book is sufficiently descriptive). It could make for an interesting undergraduate project to program a 3-D printer to churn them out. – John Coleman Feb 9 at 13:12
  • Rudy Rucker and Mark Blacklock both appear to be active on Twitter. You might try getting in touch with them and seeing if they have an answer. – Michael Seifert Feb 9 at 16:13
  • @MichaelSeifert I spam Mark Blacklock all the time on Twitter about Hinton cubes, because he said long ago that he was going to make his own set of commercially available Hinton cubes though he hasn’t so far. But he never responds. Maybe Rucker will. – Keshav Srinivasan Feb 9 at 17:39

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