It was 40 years ago today that a new toy made a big impression at a toy fair in London: the Rubik’s Cube.
Sculptor and architecture professor Erno Rubik invented the cube in the 1970s to teach his students in Budapest about geometry.
He realized its enormous potential in the toy world, but also realized he’d have to figure out whether it could be solved and, if so, what the trick was to solving it.
A month later, he’d mastered what he originally called the Magic Cube, and could demonstrate at toy fairs how to solve the whole thing in under a minute.
And so began the long quest to not only solve the cube, but to do it at top speed.
These players call themselves speedcubers, and they live up to that name.
The first official world record was set at 22.95 seconds in 1982, only a couple years after Rubik’s creation had become a global phenomenon.
Today it stands at under five seconds. Not even five seconds to solve an entire cube!
That’s the human record, while a robot managed to finish in 3.25 seconds. Showoff.
I still haven’t finished a Cube, ever, but I’m ok with that.
Erno Rubik himself said that the puzzle is a reminder to hang in there, to be persistent.
If it doesn’t work today, maybe tomorrow a solution will present itself.
Rubik’s Cube was such a huge hit when it first hit toy shelves 40 years ago that it even had its own cartoon show.
And it was maybe even more 80s than the toy itself.
The theme song for “Rubik the Amazing Cube” was by 80s pop sensation Menudo, and the voice of the Amazing Cube came from Ron Palillo, best known as Arnold Horshack on “Welcome Back Kotter.”
9 fun facts about the Rubik’s Cube on its 40th birthday (New York Post)
How the Inventor of the Rubik’s Cube Cracked His Own Code (Great Big Story on YouTube)
Rubik’s Cube (photo by Krystal Nina Laigo via Flickr/Creative Commons)