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The History and Popularity of the Rubik’s Cube

People have many different hobbies today, and it depends on what their interests are. People who are into intellectual and brain-stretching hobbies mostly rely on modern gadgets and on technology in the present time. But there’s one thing that most modern hobbies and past times cannot challenge, and that is the Rubik’s Cube.

The Rubik’s Cube is a puzzle that features nine smaller squares on each side. When you buy one, each of its sides has all the squares the same color. You need to turn it a few times, and then challenge yourself to return each side to a solid color. At first, it may look simple enough. However, most people who tried to solve it eventually realized that they were awestruck by the puzzle but not close to solving it.

The Rubik’s Cube is the toy that was released onto the world market in 1980. Since then, it quickly became a craze when it hit stores. The 1980’s was the time it reached its height of mainstream popularity. But it is still being used up until today. If you want to know further information, read on, and we’re going to tell you more about the history and popularity of the Rubik’s Cube.

an unsolved Rubik’s Cube on a table

The Inventor of Rubik’s Cube

The one who invented the Rubik’s Cube was Ernö Rubik. He was born in Budapest, Hungary, on July 13, 1944. He combined the divergent talents of his parents to become both an architect and a sculptor. His father was an engineer who created plans for gliders while his mother was an artist and a poetess.

Ernö Rubik was fascinated with the concept of space. That’s why he spent his free time designing puzzles as he worked as a professor at the Academy of Applied Arts and Design in Budapest. He thought that puzzles can help in opening the minds of his students to new ways of thinking about three-dimensional geometry.

In the spring of 1974, when Ernö Rubik turned 30, he envisioned a small cube that’s constructed of movable squares on each side. When the fall of 1974 came, his friends volunteered to help him in creating the first wooden model of his idea.

Ernö Rubik just enjoyed watching how the squares moved at first when he turned one section and then another. But when he attempted to put the colors back again, he found it challenging. He was oddly preoccupied with the challenge, and he spent a month in turning the cube in different ways until he finally realigned its colors again.

He tried to challenge other people with the cube, and they also had the same fascination. With this, Ernö Rubik realized that he might have a toy puzzle on his hands he could earn from.

The Cube’s Release in Stores

hand holding a solved Rubik’s CubeErnö Rubik made an arrangement in 1975 with Politechnika, a Hungarian toy-manufacturer who agreed to mass-produce the cube. The multi-colored cube was first seen in toy stores in Budapest in 1977, and it was called the Büvös Kocka or the Magic Cube. It became a success in Hungary. However, Ernö Rubik faced a challenge in getting Hungary’s Communist leadership to allow the Magic Cube out to the rest of the world.

Hungary eventually agreed to share the cube, and in 1979, Rubik signed with the Ideal Toy Corporation. As the Magic Cube was being prepared by Ideal Toys to be marketed, they decided to change the name of the cube. After a few name considerations, they settled on naming it Rubik’s Cube. And the very first Rubik’s Cubes were seen in Western stores in 1980.

The Popularity of the Rubik’s Cube in the 80;s

After the release of the first batches of Rubik’s Cubes in 1980, the initial sales were modest. But Ideal Toys started a television advertising campaign in the middle of the year, together with some newspaper advertisements. By the end of 1980, Rubik’s Cube was named the German Game of the Year. It also won similar awards for best the toy in the US, UK, and France.

In 1981, Rubik’s Cube started to become a craze. From 1980 to 1983, there were around 200 million Rubik’s Cubes sold around the world. A speed cubing championship was organized in March 1981 by the Guinness Book of World Records, and it was held in Munich. And in the same month, a Rubik’s Cube was shown on the front cover of Scientific American.

The Washington Post, in June 1981, reported that Rubik’s Cube is a puzzle that is moving like fast food. The New Scientist also noted that it had charmed children of ages 7 and even 70-year-old adults all over the world.

Since only a few people can solve the Rubik’s Cube, and some can only complete one or two sides, there are also guide books that were published for the Rubik’s Cube. Some of those include “Notes on Rubik’s Magic Cube” by David Sing master, and “You Can Do the Cube” by Patrick Bossert. In fact, at some point in 1981, three of the best-selling books in the US were books on solving the Rubik’s Cube.

The Museum of Modern Art located in New York, in 1981,displayed a Rubik’s Cube. In 1982, the World’s Fair in Knoxville, Tennessee,exhibited a six-foot Cube. There was even a cartoon show developed by ABC Television titled Rubik, the Amazing Cube. In June of the same year, the 1st Rubik’s Cube World Championship was held in Budapest. It was the only competition recognized as official until it was revived in 2003.

The New York Times reported that the sales of Rubik’s Cube had fallen in October 1982. By 1983, it was clear that its sales have indeed dropped. But throughout the 1980’s and 1990’s, Rubik’s Cubes were continued to be marketed.

The Revival of the Rubik’s Cube in the 21st Century

solving a Rubik’s CubeIn the early 2000;s, the interest in the Cube began to grow again. Between 2001 and 2003, the sales of Rubik’s Cube in the US doubled. In 2003, a World Rubik’s Games Championship was held in Toronto, and it was the first speed cubing tournament since 1982. Through this tournament, the World Cube Association was formed in 2004.

In 2008, the annual sales of Rubik branded cubes were able to reach 15 million worldwide. One of the things that made it popular again was the videos shared in sites like YouTube, which are made by fans to share their solving strategies. Other brands of the cube appeared following the expiration of Rubik’s patent in 2000. That’s why today, there are many brands of Rubik’s Cube you will find in the market, and some of them are engineered for speed, which is perfect for speed cubers.

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Where to Buy

SpeedRipper Cube: Perfect for International Speed Cube Competitions - Buttery Smooth Turning - Solid & Durable, Best 3x3 Puzzle Magic Toy

Rubik's Original 3x3 Cube

Hasbro Gaming Rubik's Cube Neon Pop 3 X 3 Puzzle for Kids Ages 8 & Up

Rubik's 5X5 Cube

New!! Shengshou 10x10x10 Speed Cube Puzzle 10x10

Dreampark 3x3 Megaminx Speed Cube Puzzle Toy

World's Smallest Rubiks Cube

How to Solve a Rubik’s Cube by Chad Bomberger

Solve a Rubik’s Cube In Under 10 Minutes For Kids

Speed Cubing Puzzle Cube Shirt T-Shirt

 

The Best Rubik’s Cubes You Can Buy Today

As mentioned above, there are now different brands and kinds of Rubik’s Cube that you can find in the market today. If you are interested in having one to see if you can solve it, then here are some of the best ones we can recommend.

1. Speed Ripper Cube by Creative Line

This Rubik’s Cube has an all-new mechanism with faster movement, amazing corner, and zero pops. It is excellently engineered, allowing smooth and easy twists when you play. It also provides a firm but not a too-tight grip. Each cube is also pre-lubricated and ready to play. It is made with non-toxic and eco-friendly materials. It is also non-fading and is perfect for all ages.

2. Rubik’s Original 3×3 Cube

This is the original Rubik’s Cube that offers 43 quintillion possible moves but only one solution. It is a stimulating and challenging puzzle for all ages. It also comes with a free storage bag so you can take it with you anywhere safely.

3. Hasbro Gaming Rubik’s Cube Neon Pop 3×3 Puzzle

This 3×3 Rubik’s Cube features bright neon colors, which is perfect for kids ages 8 and up. You’ll be able to play the classic Rubik’s Cube puzzle with exciting neon colors. It also comes with a stand so you can put it on display when not in use. It is a perfect gift for kids to give them some time off from using gadgets.

4. Rubik’s 5×5 Cube by Winning Moves Games

If you are a true Rubik’s aficionado, then you might want to try this 5×5 Rubik’s Cube. It is more challenging compared to the classic 3×3 because there are more cubes to twist and turn.

5. Shengshou 10×10 Speed Cube Puzzle

If you are really up to the challenge, then try solving this 10×10 Rubik’s Cube puzzle. It is much larger compared to the original Rubik’s Cube, and of course, more challenging. If you are a Rubik’s Cube enthusiast, then you can add this one to your collection.

6. Dreampark 3×3 Megami Speed Cube Puzzle Toy

This speed cube can foster your sense of space and activate your imagination and creativity. It is the perfect toy if you want to test your patience and mental skill. This puzzle will provide you hours of fun time. It comes in a unique-looking shape, and it is made of eco-friendly materials. It also has improved anti-pop technology and structure for easier twists. It is a great gift for your friends who love solving Rubik’s Cubes.

7. World’s Smallest Rubik’s Cube

If you are looking for a Rubik’s Cube that’s easy to bring anywhere, then this is perfect for you. This cube comes in size ¾” x ¾” x ¾”, which is the actual size of one dice. It is the World’s Smallest Rubik’s Cube indeed.

8. How to Solve a Rubik’s Cube by Chad Bomberger

If you need a guide in solving a Rubik’s Cube, you can try reading this book. It contains simple, easy-to-understand instruction for solving Rubik’s Cubes. This is a perfect book for beginners.

9. Solve a Rubik’s Cube in Under 10 Minutes for Kids by Michael Harris

If you are giving your child a Rubik’s Cube, you might want to give it together with this book. It is perfect if you’ve always wanted your child to learn to solve the Rubik’s Cube, but you don’t know how to do it.

10. Speed Cubing Puzzle Cube T-Shirt

If you are a puzzle cube fan and you participate in speed cubing competitions, then this is an excellent shirt for you. It features different cube figures. It is made of 100% cotton and lightweight materials, making it comfortable to wear. It comes in colors black, navy, royal blue, dark heather, and heather blue.

The Rubik’s Cube is indeed one of the most iconic toys of the 80’s, and it still remains as a popular puzzle game in the present time. It is truly a challenging game for people of all ages.

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