History of the Rubik's Cube

In 1974, 30-year-old Erno Rubik, in the future the first official millionaire of the Eastern European Social. Blok, worked at the Department of Interior Design of the Budapest Academy of Applied Arts and Crafts.

He taught industrial design and architecture to Hungarian students. He was also fond of geometry and three-dimensional object modeling, finding it an ideal tool for developing spatial imagination skills in students. As is the case with outstanding inventions, the project was hatched for more than one year.

In the beginning, the invention was a set of 27 wooden cubes with multi-colored edges (i.e. 27 x 6 = 156 colored edges in total).

According to one of the versions, with the help of this textbook, Rubik tried to explain to the dull pupils the foundations of the mathematical theory of groups. The task of the inventor was as follows: to make the individual multi-colored cubes rotate freely in their places, without violating the constructive unity of the entire device.

In the future, we had to discard everything superfluous: in his first cube, Rubik left only 54 outer faces: one-color for the six central cubes, two-color for twelve side ones, and three-color for eight corner ones. Exactly in this form we see the Rubik's cube now. A cylindrical fastening mechanism was placed in the vacant place of the only "inner" cube, which was firmly connected to all the outer cubes, but allowed them to rotate freely relative to each other. So from the tutorial, the Rubik's cube became a toy!

Friends of Rubik and students of the subordinate Academy acted as the pioneers of the puzzle. Since the idea of ​​free enterprise in the former socialist camp was understood then rather conditionally, the desire to patent the design came to Rubik's mind only after some time.

In 1975, Rubik received a Hungarian patent for his invention. However, the release of an experimental industrial batch of cubes took place only at the end of 1977. The first cube maker was a small Budapest cooperative that released the cube as a New Year's toy on Christmas Day 1978. It was soundly made under the name "Magic Cube" (Buvuos Kocka) in colorful packaging, single copies of which appeared in the USSR. Before the worldwide triumph of the best-selling puzzle in history, held in the hands of every eighth inhabitant of the planet, the Rubik's cube was still very, very far away. The fact is that the Rubik's cube, produced since the end of 1977 in Hungary in a limited edition, did not immediately conquer the West.

It is possible that events would continue to develop at a snail's pace if someone Tibor Laczi, a German computer entrepreneur of Hungarian origin, who accidentally saw a Rubik's Cube during his next business trip to Hungary, had not become interested in the toy. Tibor stopped by for coffee and noticed a puzzle in the hands of a cafe waiter. Lakzy, who is fond of mathematics, was fascinated by the toy and started promoting it with Tom Kremer, a successful game inventor and founder of Seven Towns Ltd.

The real "cubic" invasion began only in 1980, when, as a result of the joint efforts of Tom Kremer and Tibor Lackzy, the Ideal Toy Corporation bought the license for the production of the Rubik's cube (it was she who gave the puzzle the name Rubik's Cube), which placed an order for 1, 000, 000 pieces. ... after which she began to advertise and sell this toy all over the world. At that time, about 100 million "legal cubes" were produced, and even more were fakes. In the 80s, probably every tenth inhabitant of the civilized world passed through the Cube. In the West, the Rubik's Cube appeared in May 1980, and in the USSR, the Cube came "to the masses" in 1981. According to some reports, the rights to release the toy cost the USSR an unimaginable amount of $ 3 million for a Soviet person. The teachers were the first to feel the power of the puzzle - whole classes purposefully, without leaving for recess, fiercely twisted the Cube. Schoolchildren collected it during lessons under the desks. The teachers, having selected him during the lessons, themselves creaked with a cube in the classroom, fencing themselves off from the students with a class magazine. And then they sat up late in the staff room, trying to put together the puzzle. “Closed” speed championships were held in schools - there were legendary personalities who were able to assemble it in one minute in the first years of “cubization” (Rubik himself took a whole month to assemble for the first time).

There were not many lucky people who had a real Cube in the early 80s - someone brought the Cube to school and there was a queue for him to touch the puzzle, to hold it in his hands. The ability to intelligently assemble it, at first glance, seemed absolutely incredible. For those who did not have a Rubik's cube, in 1982, the magazine "Young Technician" published an article with illustrations and drawings entitled All Cubes a cube on how to make it yourself. Soon timid critical remarks about the mania of "cubism" at the request of the workers were replaced by numerous publications "What needs to be done to still collect the Cube?" In those days it looked extremely interesting: in the magazine "Science and Life", next to the story about mineral fertilizers and the achievements of Soviet astronautics, there was a large article - "How to assemble a Rubik's Cube". Perhaps someone reading these lines still remembers the assembly scheme according to the method of the magazine "Science and Life", consisting of spells of the type F2V-1L2.

As the Ogonyok magazine wrote in its article, the Rubik's Cube opened the way for the Soviet people to virtual reality, although there was no such phrase in the lexicon of Soviet people at that time. And virtual reality, as it turns out, was very much even. The cube turned out to be a high-calorie product, one toy successfully replaced: two congresses of the guiding and guiding, one world ice hockey championship, two hundred and fifty grams of vodka without snacks, a monthly norm of low-fat kefir and half of the New Year's feast. In the rating of gifts, the cube far surpassed both a book, traditionally the best gift, and a source of knowledge, and almost the best gift of those times, a bottle of 0.75 of delicious vodka nicknamed "Siberian", and some citizens even replaced sex, as it assumed a similar laboriousness, playfulness of thought and employment of hands. The cube was spun selflessly, detachedly, right in the subway, in the tram, in design bureaus, in sanatoriums, rest homes, in bed. And how many people have gone into a binge without being able to cope with the invention of the insidious Hungarian? Cubes often died - desperate collectors threw them against the wall out of anger, crushed them with their feet. In a normal (in the sense of an intelligent) family, then it was supposed to have at least two cubes at the same time - so that no one had to wait, looking at the collector with envy. The cube became the best gift that could be given in all occasions: for a birthday, wedding, housewarming, New Year.

Rumor has it that famous British scientists - this time psychologists - have given the great apes a puzzle. Chimpanzees at first reacted with extreme interest to her, but then they began to worry, anxiety turned into intense excitement, comparable to despair. One of the monkeys threw the cube away from the cage, the other tried to eat it, the third broke it into small pieces in anger. If only monkeys! .. According to the observations of these scientists and their fellow neuropathologists, some people, who had been twirling a toy in their hands for more than an hour, began to get nervous, angry, people who were too unbalanced became aggressive, they had a desire to break the cube. It is not known exactly, but it seems that small plastic hatchets were released for the services of such expansive people, designed to "punish" the obstinate toy. The purchase was accompanied by instructions on what can be made from the parts of a broken cube.

In 1982, the Rubik's Cube World Championship was held in Budapest. It was attended by representatives of 19 countries - winners in national championships. Three tasks were proposed for the solution. The best time out of three attempts was counted. Each participant of the competition received a new Polyois cube. All the cubes were equally intricately entangled by 25-30 computer rotations. The computer was programmed as a random number generator and in an unknown way determined the rotated face of the cube, the direction and angle of rotation. Before the start of the countdown, each participant in the competition was given 15 seconds to study the original coloring of the cube and choose a solution. Competitors were required to complete the cube in no more than 60 seconds. The best build time - 22.95 seconds was shown by 16-year-old student from Los Angeles Minh Thai, and one of the contenders for the victory in a hurry broke two dice in a row and was disqualified. Although there were legends about unknown prodigies who collected the cube in almost 10 seconds. Ironically, the first world championship coincided with the peak of Cubic's popularity. Soon, the wave of worldwide hype will begin to subside, and hundreds of millions of cubes will hide in dusty corners. But there are still several years before that.

The record of collecting the Rubik's Cube in the past years has repeatedly passed from hand to hand and today is practically unattainable for an ordinary person in time: less than 8 seconds (on average out of 5 attempts !!!!). The current record is recorded on the WCA website. Interestingly, many kuers manage to solve the cube with less than 30 turns of the faces (Rubik's Cube: Fewest moves), but mathematicians are convinced that the day will come when the cube can be defeated with no more than 22 movements from ANY starting position, and not just in the case of a rare good luck!

There were no problems with selling the puzzle, there were problems with production. Hungary physically could not make more than a few million pieces a year. Cubic factories open in Hong Kong, Taiwan, Costa Rica and Brazil.

The passion for the toy had no linguistic, social and age boundaries. Venerable matrons and bank managers, baseball players and pilots, library workers and parking attendants were spinning the cube around the clock. In many restaurants, the cube was a must-have table setting along with a salt shaker and pepper shaker. People's wrists simply cramped from the continuous hours of play.

Young people, schoolchildren and students were at the forefront of the worldwide movement. The difficulty of assembling the cube gave rise to a stream of special editions on the problem: more than 60 books were published. The Soviet journal Nauka i Zhizn did not lag behind, for several years in each issue it paid attention to the Rubik's cube.

Already in 1980, the cube received the Hungarian national prize for the best invention and won competitions for the best toy in the USA, Great Britain, France and Germany. In 1981, the cube entered the exposition of the New York Museum of Modern Art (MOMA). In the same year, Royal Puzzle, a version of the Rubik's Cube dedicated to the wedding of Prince Charles and Lady Diana, on July 29, 1981, was released in England in limited edition.

Meanwhile, the decline in interest in the multi-colored tempter was not at all amicable and widespread. So it might seem only to toy manufacturers, who, on the wave of gambling insanity, have stamped tens of millions of "extra" cubes and for a year or two have forgotten that the sales market is still limited. Or maybe the whole mass of inept people who did not manage to collect the Cube are to blame for that? Or has the logic of spatial twists and turns been overshadowed by political debates, parties and demonstrations? Or did the electronic era just come and people left to play Tetris?

In any case, the result was a collapse in sales, huge stocks of unsold cubes in factories and stores, and a lack of new orders for production. Therefore, starting in 1983, the cube became more and more difficult, and then it was completely impossible to find on the counter.

However, the man behind the Rubik's Cube economic miracle, Tom Kremer, retained a bright faith in the puzzle's enduring potential. Kremer considered it, like Monopoly or Scrabble, a game for all time. Taking advantage of a convenient situation, in 1985 the English company Seven Towns, owned by Kremer, bought out the rights to the cube and by 1991 very carefully and selectively began to slowly release it to the market again. The victorious return of "toy number 1" began in 1996, when, thanks to the efforts of the same Tom Kremer, 300 thousand cubes were sold in the USA, and 100 thousand cubes were sold in Great Britain a year later.

It is worth noting that in the 90s the cube found a second wind - with the advent of personal computers, a virtual Rubik's cube for Windows appeared. It became possible to play the cube on the computer. However, a living, tangible, firmly creaking Rubik's cube is still a rarity even today! Perhaps this is why, despite the fact that the younger generation prefers electronic games, today the Rubik's cube is again becoming a best seller in many countries.

In 2013, Rubik's introduced the updated Rubik's Cube, the revolutionary feature of which was the absence of stickers - they were replaced by more practical and beautiful plastic inserts. Along with this, the puzzle mechanism was also updated (for the first time in many decades !!), which received a spherical core, a special type of plastic that provides smoother sliding and softer turns.

As for the inventor, in less than 40 years he became a millionaire, the richest private person in Hungary and a legendary person, having traveled all over the world, quickly got tired of public attention and went into the shadows to calmly engage in his experiments and inventions in the Rubik's Studio he founded. The famous Rubik's Snake, the development of the ancient Chinese geometric puzzle "tangram", which appeared in this way, also had a resounding success, but even she is far from the popularity of the unforgettable cube.

Now Enre Rubik lives in the suburbs of Budapest, occasionally making meaningful and quasi-religious statements to the press, one of which is in italics at the top of the page, right below the author's photo. Every year, many puzzle lovers and collectors celebrate Rubik's birthday - July 13, 1944.

In 1988, Erno Rubik founded the International Rubik Foundation to support young inventors. Since 1990, Rubik is the chairman of the Hungarian Academy of Engineering, since 1996 - its honorary chairman. In 1983 he was awarded the Hungarian State Prize, and in 1995 - the V. Denesh Gabor for creativity and innovation. Now Rubik is interested in computers and is looking for opportunities that can change the relationship between the computer and the user.

Rubik's cube: facts only

43, 252, 003, 274, 489, 856, 000 possible combinations, and only 1 correct solution.

More than 350 million Rubik's cubes have been sold worldwide. If you put them in 1 row, then a strip of Rubik's cubes could be laid out from the North Pole to the South Pole.

Invented by professor of architecture and design Erno Rubik in 1974 in Budapest as a geometry textbook, and was not exported from Hungary until 1980.

The original name given by the inventor is "Magic Cube". The puzzle was renamed the Rubik's Cube after being presented at the oldest toy exhibition in Nuremberg in 1980 and the subsequent millionth order for the United States.

At the peak of popularity in 1980, every fifth inhabitant of the earth played the puzzle!

The original Rubik's Cube has a side size of 57mm. This is the "gold standard" of toys, calculated by Erno Rubik and still adhered to by the Rubik's brand.

Hundreds of Thousands of Puzzle Videos on YouTube

The first Rubik's Cube World Championship took place in Hungary in 1982 and was won by a Los Angeles student named Minh Thai who completed the Rubik's Cube in 22.95 seconds. Competitions are held in several nominations: assembly with one hand, with feet, with closed eyes and even under water in one go.

It is believed that the British Graham Parker, who received it as a gift for his 19th birthday and finally collected it for the first time, quite recently, at the age of 47, collected his Rubik's cube the longest. in 26 years!