10 Interesting Facts About the Rubik Cube
1. Non intentional invention
It was back in 1974, when the twenty-nine year Budapest (Hungary) born Erno Rubik, was trying to solve structural design problem. That’s why he was working on a model that would help him explain a three-dimensional geometry, when he finally ended up creating a famous cubical form with different colors. He later discovered that it was not so easy to realign the colors to match on all six sides, once the initial color permutations have been made. Actually, Rubik was not sure at all if he would ever be able to return his invention to its original position. Nevertheless, he was persistent in working out a solution. Within a month, he had managed to get the cubic puzzle solved. Afterwards the legendary toy rolled out.
2. Cube’s composition
The main question for Rubik when constructing his cube was how he could make twenty-six individual little cubes (called cubies) which form the big cube, move independently in blocks without falling apart. Rubik's original inspiration for solving this issue came from pebbles in the River Danube, because he found their edges to be smoothed away. His idea was to enable each layer of nine cubies to be twisted in that way that the layers can overlap. Rubik’s has tried in the first place to use elastic bands to hold the block, but this attempt has failed. After this, a brighter idea came to his mind – he thought of enabling the blocks to hold themselves together by their shape. When this internal mechanism has been made, he hand-carved and assembled the little cubies together. Afterwards, he marked each side of the big cube with a different color adhesive paper and the cube was ready for twisting.
3. Original name
Rubik called his invention the “Magic Cube” (in Hungarian originally “Buvuos Kocka”). It was renamed the Rubik's Cube by the Ideal Toy Corporation in 1980, as a result of complicated international patenting process.
4. Patenting complications
Rubik applied for his Hungarian patent in January 1975 and left his invention with a small toy making cooperative in Budapest. The patent approval finally came in early 1977 and the first Cubes appeared on the local market at the end of 1977. The puzzle had not been patented internationally within a year of the original patent. The Hungarian patent law from communistic era prevented the possibility of an international patent. Ideal Toy as Rubik's international trade partner demanded at least a recognizable name to copyright. Therefore, they decided to change the product's name by renaming it after its inventor.
5. Early competitors
Two other people applied for similar patents at about the same time as Erno Rubik. Terutoshi Ishige applied a year after Rubik, for a Japanese patent on a very similar cube. On the other part of the world an American inventor Larry Nichols, had patented a cube before Rubik. His invention was held together with magnets. Nichols' toy was rejected by all toy companies, including the Ideal Toy Corporation, which later bought the rights to Rubik's Cube.
6. Possible permutations
The number of Rubik's Cube permutations is 43,252,003,274,489,856,000 - which is approximately forty-three quintillion.
7. Competing with the Rubik Cube
At the beginning of global craze over the Rubik Cube in the 1980s the first official competitions for solving the Rubik’s Cube have been launched. A sixteen-year-old Vietnamese high school student from Los Angeles, Minh Thai won this first world championship in Budapest in 1982 by unscrambling the Cube in 22.95 seconds. The current world record for a single solve was set in June 2011 at the Melbourne Winter Open competition in Australia, by Feliks Zemdegs with an incredible time of 5.66 seconds. Apart from this the challenge of “Speedcubbing” is present nowadays in different forms: competitions in one-hand solving, blindfolded solving and similar variations. In the movie clip below, we see how small Chinese girl solves the Cube puzzle in public in no more than 114 seconds.
8. Bestseller among toys
More than 300 million original Rubik's Cubes have been sold worldwide up to now. In order to visualize better the significance of figure let us imagine that all these sold cubes were placed on top of each other. They would form together a line stretching from the North Pole to the South Pole.
9. Cubohilcs and damages
As the “Cubing” still infects people of all ages around the globe, there has been a name give for those obsessed with a Rubik Cube. They are called “Cubaholics”. Many of real Cubaholics are said to suffer from 'Rubik's wrist' and 'Cubist's thumb'!
10. The most expensive Cube
The most expensive Rubik Cube is called the Masterpiece Cube and was made by Fred Cueller from Diamond Cutters International to celebrate 15th anniversary of Rubik`s cube. In the case of Masterpiece Cube following materials have been used in construction: 18k of solid gold, encrusted with 22.5k of amethyst, 34k rubies and 34k green emerald. This Rubik Cube is worth $1,500,000.