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Erno Rubik and the Invention of the Rubik's Cube


Erno Rubik

Rubik's Cube

Rubik's Cube (R) used by permission of Seven Towns Ltd.

Who is Erno Rubik?:

Ernõ Rubik (b. July 13, 1944) is a Hungarian inventor whose name is known globally due to the popularity of the cube puzzle that bears his name. Born in Budapest, Rubik studied sculpture in college, then architecture at the Academy of Applied Arts and Design, where he taught interior design and invented his world-famous puzzle cube. His invention went on to become the most popular puzzle game of all time, making Rubik the first self-made millionaire from the communist bloc.

The Invention of Rubik's Cube:

While working as a professor in Budapest, Rubik became intrigued with a structural design problem. He wanted to construct a cube with adjustable squares on each side that would move independently without the entire structure falling apart. In 1974, he came up with a solution, hand-carved the blocks and marked each side of the cube with a different color. He then tested his invention, twisting the blocks in various ways to see if they held together. It was only when he discovered how challenging it was to realign the colors to match on each side that he realized his invention could be used as a puzzle.

Too tough for mass appeal?:

To date, the Rubik's Cube puzzle has sold over 350 million units. Surprisingly, when Rubik first approached toy companies they were cool to his idea and told him that the puzzle was too difficult for mainstream appeal. Undeterred, Rubik forged ahead and managed to introduce the puzzle in his home country of Hungary where it became very popular simply via word-of-mouth and without any large scale advertising.

The Cube Becomes an Eighties Sensation:

As the puzzle's popularity spread, it caught the attention of an American toy manufacturer that began selling it world-wide. The puzzle fell out of fashion in the late 1980s but made a comeback in the early '90s, appealing to a whole new generation of "cubers". It is still selling well today, more than thirty-five years later!

Speed Solving Competitions:

In 1982, the first international "Speedcubing" competition, a contest where the world's best "cubers" compete to see who can solve the Cube the fastest, was held. Today, various Rubik's Cube competitions are organized around the world by The World Cube Association.

As of 2009, the world record for solving time on a 3×3 Rubik's Cube was 7.08 seconds, set by Dutch solver Erik Akkersdijk at the Czech Open 2008.

The World's Best-Selling Puzzle:

With over 350 million units sold, Rubik's Cube holds the record as the world's best-selling puzzle toy. Today, there are many spin-offs of Rubik's Cube, some proving to be even more complex than the original. See Rubik's Puzzles for a list of the several variations of the cube as well as other puzzle games by Ernõ Rubik.

Solve the Rubik's Cube Online!:

Want to try the puzzle for yourself? Check out this free online version of Rubik's Cube to play on your computer.
Online Rubik's Cube Puzzle

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