We made it to our next stop, Budapest, Hungary! We decided to go on a free walking tour, and I found out that the Rubik’s cube originated here! A guy named Ernő Rubik invented the first Rubik’s cube in 1974. He was in college studying architecture at the time. The Rubik’s cube didn’t start out as a toy though. He originally made it so he could have a working model to help explain three-dimensional geometry. His first cube was twice the weight as a modern one that you would find today. He called it the “magic cube,” but it was later renamed after Ernő Rubik himself, making it the Rubik’s cube. Soon after he created the puzzle, he realized that he could not solve it!
After a month of using a method that rearranges the corners of each side first, he solved the puzzle. The cube, which was made up of nine colored squares on each side, has around 43 quintillion different ways to rearrange the squares. 43,000,000,000,000,000,000. It still surprises me that he found a way to solve it in a month!
Later, in 1979, the first Rubik’s cubes were shown at the Nuremberg Toy Fair. In 1980, it was licensed by the Ideal Toy Corp, and by 2009, more than 350 million cubes had been sold worldwide. That made it the largest-selling toy of all time.
In 1982, the first speedcubing competition started. Speedcubing is still a big thing today, and the world record as of right now was made by a guy named Feliks Zemdegs. He solved a three by three Rubik’s cube in 4.22 seconds!
Editor’s note (Justin): Amanda bought a Rubik’s cube while we were living in Spain in November, 2018 and she’s since taught herself how to solve it. She passes it along to each family member and no matter how much we shuffle it she seems to be able to solve it in less than a minute.