Who would have believed it – the Rubik Cube is 40 years old today!
Originally a larger and heavier version was designed in 1974 to explain three dimensional geometry by Hungarian architect Erno Rubik. With a bit of re-designing it became a most unlikely but ridiculously successful toy. Rubik himself could not solve the problem at first – which isn’t surprising considering there are 43,000,000,000,000,000,000 different combinations.
Who knows what happened between 1974 and 1979, when the smaller, lighter version appeared at the Nuremberg Toy Fair – it’s anybody’s guess, although with Hungary firmly behind the Iron Curtain getting anything onto the worldwide market was probably quite a challange.
Licensed to the Ideal Toy Corp. in 1980 it went on to sell in it’s millions and has become and enduring icon of the decade. I had one at the time and it seemed that everyone else did too (although I actually preferred the Rubik Snake, it was massively less frustrating!).
Appropriately, today’s Google Doodle (19th May 2014) is a useable digital version of the Rubik’s Cube. So if you fancy getting frustrated all over again, just like in the early 80’s here’s your chance – although there is no way of peeling the stickers off this version!
If you would like to explore past Google Doodles here’s a link to the archive.