Rubik’s Cube – 40 Years Of Throwing Them Through Windows!

"Rubik's cube 40 years"1974, 40 years back in the mists of time, and Erno Rubik invents the Rubik’s cube. That’s one hell of a coincidence on the name front, and apart from the name he had a bigger problem on his hands…

Well, the problem was *in* his hands! He hadn’t created it as a toy or a puzzle, just something that could demonstrate a structure with parts moving separately without the whole thing falling apart, as part of his job at the Academy of Applied Arts and Crafts in Budapest.

It was only when he twisted the parts and broke the pattern of colours on the sides, he realised he didn’t know how to put the patterns back together! That’s hilarious, that the first problem to suffer from failing at the Rubik’s cube was Rubik himself!

He then realised that he had indeed created a puzzle, and sold the licence to the Ideal Toy Corp. Patent law for things like this can be a nightmare, and there is still argument as to whether the idea originally came from others.

A US patent was granted in 1972 for a 2x2x2 puzzle, held together by magnets, and a UK patent in 1974 for a spherical 3x3x3. Ideal Toys knew all too well about the complexities of toy patents, so went instead for a name they could trademark. Rubik had originally called his invention Magic Cube, but that was never going to fly as a trademark, so the name eventually settled on was of course, the Rubik’s Cube.

It went viral as a fad, and I was in my teens at the time, so was slap bang in the middle of it. There were little key ring versions, round versions, versions with 5 squares along each side and so on, but all those versions did was cement the basic 3x3x3 cube as a *classic*.

Hundreds of millions of sales later, you can’t really argue!

It took me a long time to get one finished, and my groans of frustration joined the worldwide throng of frustration! Nowadays there are many documented ways of solving the puzzle, but if you handed me one and told me to do it myself, I’d be right back to that frustration of the 1980s! There are great lessons to be had from the anniversary though…

It’s not unusual for an invention to appear by accident in the process of creating something else, there are many famous examples. This is one of them, and it goes to show that you never know what might be waiting just around the corner, once you start taking action! If you never take action, that surprise around the corner will *stay* just around the corner – you’ll never see it!

As for the cube itself, well, it’s a perfect way of illustrating that in order to get to a solution, you may have to go through lots of trial and error, lots of ‘failure’, lots of putting lining up the pieces in the wrong order, before BHAM! You have suddenly got to the solution.

I can think of many times in my life when this has applied, I bet you can too! In fact, stop for a second, right now, and think of an example from your life which relates to the Rubik’s cube. Maybe you are working on just such a life puzzle right now. Got one? Good, now get in touch and let me know what it is, I’d love to hear!

The Rubik’s Cube certainly does take me back, I’m not sure I ever did actually throw one out of a window, but I know I certainly felt like it! 40 years after its’ invention, do take a moment to think about the lessons (and yes, fun) it reminds you of.

Do get in touch, and feel free to share this article if you enjoyed via the social media buttons below, I appreciate it!

‘Til Next Time,
Health & happiness,
P.S. Don’t forget to look at my motivational book ‘Transform Your Life in 21 Days!’

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  • The Rubik’s cube does brings back memories. I played with it when I was a little kid in school. The fad was so hot we even had a competition in school for the fastest solver.

    • They still have World Championships now! There is one chap who has an average of under 10 secs with a PB of 7. They call hime the Usain Bolt of the cubing world 😉

  • I had a keyring! Goodness knows why – couldn’t do it then and still can’t do it now. My 15 yr old daughter, on the other hand can solve it in about half a minute after teaching herself all the algorithms.

    If Rubik wasn’t the first person to solve the puzzle – who was?!

    • The keyrings for me were a sign of how big it had got, I loved mine!
      I was amazed when I managed to do it, it’s odd how the brain suddenly clicked, and the subconscious mind had clearly taken over (hmm, actually that’s another article thread right there!)

      Well, Rubik was the first person to struggle with the problem, he solved it eventually, and I think he was the first – would be funny if it was someone else, might have to go and do more research!

      All the algorithms for solving it? Boring! You haven’t lived unless you’ve tackled the cube wiht just your brain! Ha!

  • I have a nephew who can do these and all sorts of puzzles lightning fast. I don’t think I ever completed one. Though I did get to be a champ at taking them apart and putting them back together. =)

    • Ah yes, I also went down that road – in fact as well as World Championshhips for actually solving it, they should have a worlds for taking it apart and putting it back together again! Ha!

  • My son was able to solve it in around 30 seconds at his best – he’s a bit out of practice now, but still enjoys the Cube now and then. Now, as for his mother – I tried the Cube on Google yesterday and still couldn’t do it!

    • It being in the news has definitely had me hankering to have one again, for the nostalgia version! I might even go searching online, dread to think how much they are nowadays!

  • Hi – stopping by from the Facebook UBC group again.

    Wow, yeah, this brings back memories! I’ve seen these cubes in all sizes – but never did master how to do these!

    • The more I’ve thought about them it’s taken me right back to those days gone by, I can feel myself there. It’s a nice feeling, but odd too!

  • So many memories … I was one of those annoying people who figured out a system that worked. It was a great party trick to complete the cube in front of a crowd. My lessons from the Rubiks cube … There is always a solution … and sometimes the simple things in life are the ones that offer the most fun, challenges, discussion, friendship and money.

    • Yes,there was always a clever clogs who just pick it up and do it, while the rest of us looked quizzically at the mess of jumbled plastic in our own hands! 😉
      It’s a story with so many great lessons, isn’t it – just the type of story I feel compelled to write up!