The Rubik’s cube has been around for over 40 years and still it fascinates us. What is it about this cube that grabs and holds our attention? Where did it come from and how did it attain the position of one of the best selling toys in the world? Today the cube is found in most of the toy and puzzle shops like Cubelelo. We bring to you Rubik’s cube history that you must read know before solving any cube puzzle.
The History Of Rubik’s Cube From Its Invention To Now:
1974: Founder- Ernõ Rubik
Ernõ Rubik was a professor of architecture in Budapest who developed the cube to help his students understand the three dimensional problems. He never meant for it to turn into a toy, a puzzle. Ernõ had accidentally unscrambled the cube and took over a month himself to put it back together. He named it “Magic Cube”.
Ernõ patented his invention “Magic Cube” as a puzzle.
- The cube was manufactured in small quantities in Hungary and gained popularity during the late 1970s. Ernõ realised the immense potential his puzzle held.
- Since the country was behind the Iron Curtain, the cube couldn’t be exported due to the restricting import-export rules and regulations. Also, toys weren’t given much importance by the Hungarian authorities at the time.
- The International Toy Fairs were a welcome solution. The puzzle could be displayed at these fairs.
- “Magic Cube” was displayed at various fairs- London, Paris, New York and other cities.
- Toys specialist Tom Kremer noticed the puzzle at Nuremberg, Germany.
- He wished to sell it across the globe and obtained the rights to distribute the cube worldwide.
- Tom’s unflinching belief in the cube’s potential was persuasion enough for the Ideal Toy Company to sell it worldwide. Before doing so, they asked for the cube to be renamed so as to sound more appealing and memorable.
- “Magic Cube” was renamed as “Rubik’s Cube” and the newer models were launched globally. These new models’ light weight allowed the cubes to be solved faster.
- Rubik’s cube won the “German Game of the Year” award for Best Puzzle. A true honour.
- Sales were slow at the beginning for the Rubik’s Cube.
- The Ideal Toy Company decided to launch advertisements on TV and newspapers to combat the slow sales.
- The book, “You Can Do the Cube” by 12 year old Patrick Bossert sold over 1.5mn copies. This further boosted the sales.
- 3 out of 10 bestselling books in the United States were based on how one can solve the cube!
- Millions of units of the cube were sold.
- The 1st World Championship was held in 1982 at Budapest. The winner solved the cube in 22.95s.
- Museum of Modern Art NYC included the cube in its permanent collection.
Relaunched in major markets.
- The first speedcubing tournament was held by the WCA (World Cube Association).
- Since then the organisation holds competitions and recognises world records.
Rubik’s cube’s annual sales reached 15mn.
A record $250mn sales achieved.
Nearly $350mn Rubik’s Cube puzzles sold so far.
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Other Factors That Have Led To The Success Of Rubik’s Cube Are-
Feliks Zemdegs on winning at the 2013 World Championships
The fascination with Rubik’s Cube continues even today. Speedcubers spend hours day in and day out trying to solve the cube in the minimum amount of time possible. The first world record of 22.95s has now replaced with 4.22s!
The advent of online resources- YouTube tutorials, blogs, forums and tools have contributed to the popularity of the cube. One can learn the art of cube solving with the aid of these resources. You can learn the strategies involved as well as the various methods. There are online timers to time your progress. Master speedcubers conduct workshops and tutorials.
Rubik’s Cube has been featured in several television shows and movies. Some of these features include-
- 1991- appeared for the first time on the famous Simpson show. The cube boasts 6 guest appearances on the show.
- 1998- Armageddon movie and Spice Girls music video
- 1999- Being John Malkovich
- 2000- Dude, Where’s My Car
- 2003- featured at Disney’s Pop Century Resort
- 2006- The Pursuit of Happyness (maybe you can impress your potential employer just like Will Smith!)
- 2007- The Big Bang Theory
- 2008- Disney’s Wall-E
The history of the Rubik’s Cube is riveting. This toy hasn’t seen smooth sailing. It has weathered the storms and emerged unscathed. Declared by the New York Times in 1982 as a “fad” and something that wouldn’t survive for long, the cube has managed to cement its place in the hearts of several generations.
“If you are curious, you’ll find the puzzles around you. If you are determined, you will solve them.”
— Erno Rubik