All it takes to remind ’80s kids of their childhood is glace at a Rubik’s Cube! Rubik’s Cube was invented in the mid-1970s and has entertained many generations since. Young people are attracted by the simplicity and challenging patterns of the puzzle. It has also been the culprit of a lot of frustrated minds.
The Rubik’s Cube creator, Hungarian Ernö Rubik, had no idea he would be creating a phenomenon that would generate so much impact in the toy industry.
Did you know it was initially called the Magic Cube? Well, now you do! There’s probably a lot more that you could learn about Rubik’s Cube if you have a moment or two. Let’s jump right in!
30 must-know facts about the Rubik’s Cube:
1. The Rubik’s Cube wasn’t the first one.
More than 15 years before Ernö Rubik invented his Cube, American designer Larry D. Nichols invented, in 1957, a 2x2x2 puzzle with rotatable pieces held together by magnets. In 1972, he was granted a U.S. patent for his invention.
2. It wasn’t created to be a toy.
The Cube’s purpose was to help Ernö Rubik’s students at the Academy of Applied Arts and Crafts in Budapest understand 3D objects and solve structural problems. He only realized he had created a puzzle when he scrambled the Cube and tried to fix it.
3. Its inventor couldn’t solve his own Cube.
Rubik solved his own invention after one month, so don’t give up if you’ve been stuck for hours. As you can see, rearranging all the pieces can take weeks.
4. Google launched a lab dedicated to Rubik’s Cube.
In celebration of the Cube’s 40th anniversary, Google opened the Chrome Cube Lab, where developers can create custom cubes, and users can try to solve them.
5. Rubik’s Cube continues to be popular.
Even though it’s an 80’s fad, Google search for Rubik’s Cube has shown a pattern of growing interest.
6. The first Rubik’s Cube was made out of wood.
Although today there’s an enormous array of Rubik’s Cube designs, the first one was made out of wood. In 1980, when Ernö Rubik made a deal with Ideal Toy Company, it became the colorful one we know now.
7. The Rubik’s Cube is included in the National Toy Hall of Fame.
Students from a New York town called Hilton petitioned to get the Cube inducted into the National Toy Hall of Fame. It finally happened in 2014, the same year they celebrated the toy’s 40th anniversary.
8. There’s an educational and community outreach program based on the Rubik’s Cube Brand.
You Can Do The Rubik’s Cube has been developing problem solvers with the educational resources provided by the Rubik’s Cube brand to teach STEM skills using the toy.
9. It’s a pop culture item.
Besides being a toy, the Rubik’s Cube has been featured in street art, statues, tattoos, fashion design, music videos, movies, architecture, and more. It has also shaped pop culture by becoming an icon that represents intelligence.
10. It was the Google doodle for a day.
On May 19, 2014, Google featured a virtual Rubik’s Cube to celebrate its 40th anniversary. Users that successfully solved the Cube were presented with a certificate stating their name and the time it took to complete. The doodle is still accessible here.
11. There’s an art movement based on the Cube.
Rubik’s cubism, or Rubikubism, is the name used to describe an art movement that consists of mosaics made with Rubik’s Cube. Some depict famous paintings, and others are original creations. Cube Works Studio created the largest mosaic. They used 85,794 cubes to recreate the skyline of Macau, China.
12. It’s a highly used TV prop.
The Rubik’s Cube is usually used to represent intelligence, creativity, and problem-solving skills. The object can be seen in commercials, music videos, and movies, usually featured to create a retro vibe.
13. There’s a pro version of the Rubik’s Cube.
Rubik’s Speed is an online-exclusive product explicitly targeted to those who want to beat time records in solving the puzzle. It uses magnets to add stability and acts as a positioning system, and provides smoother turns. It comes pre-lubricated, but players can add more when needed.
The brand says it’s more reliable than ever. The stickers have also been replaced with higher-quality ones that don’t fade nor peel.
14. There’s a global association dedicated to cubers.
The World Cube Association oversees and organizes competitions for twisty puzzles all over the world. The organization is operated by volunteers, and it was founded in 2004.
15. You can learn how to solve the Cube.
Some people think that you have to be really smart to solve the Rubik’s Cube. While that is true, solving the puzzle takes learning and dedication. There are several tutorials out there that teach strategies that can be mastered.
16. There are over 43 quintillion combinations.
The Rubik’s Cube has six sides made up of nine blocks. It has been calculated that a 3x3x3 cube has about 43 quintillions combinations.
17. God’s number is 20.
It took 30 years for mathematicians to crack the maximum amount of moves required to solve any of the more than 43 quintillion combinations. In July 2010, Tomas Rokicki, Herbert Kociemba, Morley Davidson, and John Dethridge proved that the number was 20.
18. Beyond Rubik’s Cube.
There’s a 7,000-square-feet space dedicated to the Rubik’s Cube. Beyond Rubik’s Cube is the world’s first museum exhibition about the puzzle and features games, history, art, and engineering. It’s the current home to Ernö Rubik’s first prototype of the toy. It also features a place where you can invent your own twisty puzzle.
19. There was an animated cartoon for kids.
Rubik’s Cube was so popular in the ’80s that Ruby-Spears Enterprise created a 13-episode animated series based on the Cube. Rubik, the Amazing Cube starred a magic cube named Rubik (surprise, surprise!) who had some special powers but could only come alive when he was solved.
20. There is a diamond-encrusted Rubik’s Cube.
This is a toy that could break the bank of any parent out there. Diamond Cutters International made a diamond-encrusted version of the Rubik’s Cube made out of 185 carats of diamonds.
21. It starred in Will Smith’s The Pursuit of Happyness.
In the movie, The Pursuit of Happyness, the famous actor Will Smith used a Rubik’s Cube to impress a stockbroker and win a spot at an internship program. According to the Chicago Tribune, Smith hired recordist Tyson Mao to teach him during the movie’s taping.
22. Solving the puzzle in less than one minute while falling from the sky.
In 2003, Dan Knights was parachuting with an instructor and solved the Rubik’s Cube in 32 seconds after jumping from the airplane, flying at 12,000 feet high. He had 40 to 45 seconds to solve the puzzle before opening the chute. He said that it “would be plenty of time in my living room, but it’s a different story when you’re hurtling toward the earth at 130 miles per hour.”
Six years later, Adam Morgan solved the puzzle in 47 seconds while skydiving in Atlanta. He jumped out at 14,000 feet and solved the puzzle while freefalling.
23. The world record is less than 3.50 seconds.
This is known as Speedcubing, where competitors try to solve the Cube as quickly as possible.
24. There’s a world record for solving the puzzle with your feet.
The record is about 1/5 of a minute.
25. A three-year-old solved the Cube in less than two minutes.
A three-year-old in China completed the famous challenge in 114 seconds. It’s impressive, given that some adults can’t figure the puzzle out.
26. A teenager became famous for creating the first strategy guide.
In 1981, 12-year-old Patrick Bossert wrote a guide for solving the Rubik’s Cube for his friends. One of them took it home and showed it to his father, an editor at Penguin Books. You Can Do The Cube became one of the New York Times bestsellers.
27. The yellow side was poisonous.
When Rubik’s Cube arrived in England in 1982, health officials found a high level of lead in the plastic discs affixed to the squares. The yellow side could contain at least 26,250 parts per million when the allowed was only 2,500 ppm.
28. If you are super tall, there’s a Rubik’s Cube for you.
Tony Fisher made the Guinness World Record for building a massive Rubik’s Cube.
29. Robots can solve the puzzle in the blink of an eye.
There are robots that can solve the Cube in a fraction of a second.
30. Rubik’s Cube is one of the toys with the most number of variations.
There are a vast array of Rubik’s Cube shapes and sizes. They can be siamese, geared, holey, bondaged, have a solid color or picture, sphere, pyramid, and more. They don’t have to be a perfect square.
Rubik’s Cube is a game played by children and adults alike. Although it’s highly complex, it is a fun puzzle game used to teach people problem-solving skills. Now you know why this is one of the most popular toys in the world.