The man behind the puzzle that 99% can’t solve

Due to manufacturing restrictions in the planned economy of communist Hungary at the time, for the first few years the puzzle’s main enthusiasts were designers, architects and mathematicians within the country.

It was when it debuted at the Nuremberg Toy Fair in 1979, and was picked up by the Ideal Toy Corporation, that it really took off.

In 1980, the renamed “Rubik’s Cube” began to be sold internationally, and it took the toy market by storm, captivating people of all ages.

Global challenge

Word about it quickly spread, with millions of people worldwide taking up the challenge, which in turn prompted a flood of books telling people how they could actually solve it. It began cropping up everywhere, and international competitions were held, sparking a craze for competitive “speedcubing”, which continues to this day.

It is estimated that by 1982, more than 100 million Rubik’s Cubes had been sold, with countless other counterfeit versions also being flogged to meet the public’s demand for the toy.

During the height of its popularity in the early 1980s, nowhere seemed free of the Rubik’s Cube craze. They adorned t-shirts and posters, featured in songs, and the cube even had its own TV cartoon adventure series, Rubik, the Amazing Cube, featuring a flying, talking version of the puzzle.

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