Peter Farran

Design Classic Number 36: Rubik’s Cube

In Design Classics, Toys on December 20, 2011 at 10:00 pm

Rubik's CubeImage by Jin.Thai

Popular Puzzle Still Packs a Punch


Creator: Erno Rubik
Created: 1974
Origin: Budapest Hungary

Rubik’s cube is a mechanical puzzle where each group of 9 smaller cubes can be rotated relative to the others quickly mixing up the cubes from their original solved position. The puzzle can then be solved by rotating groups of cubes in a number of possible sequences to arrive once again at the solution. The puzzle was created in response to the challenge of finding a way of allowing 36 cubes to be moved in three dimensions around a central pivot point which had previously only been acheived in a 2 by 2 cube rather than a three by three cube.

The first prototype was created in 1976 while the inventor was working at The Budapest College of applied Arts as a Professor and became widely available in 1980. In 1992 the first Rubik’s Cube world championships were staged demonstrating it’s longevity and world wide appeal.

Erno Rubik was able to hold all of the pieces together and yet allow them to rotate relative to one another with only a three dimensional, spring loaded cross at the center which was originally adjustable to reduce or increase the force needed to make rotations. Erno Rubik was able to create this incredible puzzle no doubt through his experience as a sculptor and architect and the subsequent success was down to the inate inginuity and challenge of the puzzle rather than the usual marketing.


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