Meet The Steve Job of Puzzle Industry : Erno Rubik
June 1, 2022
Background and Education
The year was 1974 when a young Hungarian architect named Ernő Rubik became fascinated with finding a way to model three-dimensional movement to his students.
After spending months working with blocks of cubes — made from wood and paper, held by rubber bands, glue, and paper clips — he finally designed something he called the “Bűvös kocka”, or Magic Cube.
Erno Rubik was born in July 13,1944 during the World War II , He is a Hungarian designer , inventor, architect and professor of architecture and has lived all his life in Hungary.
His father’s name is Erno Rubik who was a flight engineer of International repute, was a highly respected engineer of gliders and an expert in the field, he worked at the Esztergom aircraft factory, and his mother, Magdolna Szántó, was a poet.
Rubik majored in sculpture at the Academy of Applied Arts and Design in Budapest and Architecture at the Technical University, also in Budapest.
He became a Professor of Design at the Academy, he pursued his hobby of building geometric models. One of these was a prototype of his cube, made out of 27 wooden blocks, which took Rubik a month to solve the problem of the cube himsef even though it was his invention.
Rubik has stated in one of his interview that “Schools offered me the opportunity to acquire knowledge of subjects or rather crafts that need a lot of practice, persistence and diligence with the direction of a mento him as the decisive event which shaped his life.
Rubik Cubes proved a useful tool for teaching algebraic group theory, and in late 1977 Konsumex, Hungary’s state trading company, began marketing it.
It appeared in Hungarian toy stores in 1977, and was featured in international toy fairs.
The invention, eventually renamed the Rubik’s Cube, would become the most popular puzzle toy in the world, with more than 350 million sold as of 2018, if you include knockoffs, the number is far higher.
The cube also inspired numerous artworks and films, and spawned a competitive sport called speedcubing that fills arenas with teenagers racing to complete the puzzle in the shortest amount of time.
There are almost 50 books published and several tutorials online detailing and describing how to solve the puzzle of Rubik’s Cube.
They captivate computer programmers, philosophers and artists. etc.The cube came to embody “much more than just a puzzle,” the cognitive scientist Douglas Hofstadter wrote in 1981. “It is an ingenious mechanical invention, a pastime, a learning tool, a source of metaphors, an inspiration.”
But at the start, no one was more stunned about the runaway success of the cube than its creator, as he explains in his new book, Cubed : The Puzzles of Us All.
The impact of the cube has been “much more interesting than the cube itself,” Rubik said in an interview with Undark. The book, he said, is about trying to understand its popularity and “why people love it.”
After about 3 straight years of success and growth, cube’s success appeared to cometo a halt in 1982, according to a report in The New York Times declared it had “become passe,” and labeled it a “fad”, an assertion that would not stand the test of time.
It was during the Nuremburg fair in Germany that another Entreprenuer and Game Designer named Tom Kremer spotted it , became sole marketer for it ultmately presented the concept to Ideal Toy Company in the United States of America.
By the early 1980s, the cube was featured in American TV commercials and advertising, and became the star of an animated series in 1983 called “Rubik, the Amazing Cube.”
Following his cube’s popularity, Rubik opened a studio to develop designs in 1984.
“The cube was far too eternal, far too amazing a structure, for people to lose interest in it,” Hofstadter said.
And while interest in the cube dropped, it has recently picked up again — as director Sue Kim who is an Advertising Agency Executive from Michigan illustrates in her new documentary in 2020 “The Speed Cubers.” which is now available on Netflix to watch.
Kim herself is an a self -made “cubing mom,” Kim began taking her son to cubing competitions — and became attracted with the global popularity of the puzzle.
Kim documents the way kids are mastering an analog tool using tools of the digital age — YouTube tutorials, articles, and more — and creating online communities around their love of the cube.
“I actually think it’s found a new niche in popular culture because of its immersion within the digital landscape,” Kim said via video chat.
He is best known for the invention of mechanical puzzles including the Rubik’s Cube, Rubik’s Magic, Rubik’s Snake.
Although He is know globally for creating the Rubik’s Cube and his other puzzles, much of his recent work involves the promotion of science in education.
Rubik is involved with several organizations such as Beyond Rubik’s Cube, the Rubik Learning Initiative and the Judit Polgar Foundation all of whose aim is to engage students in science, mathematics, and problem solving at a young age.
Rubik is a lover of books and a lifelong bibliophile and has stated, “Books offered me the possibility of gaining knowledge of the world, nature and people.” Rubik has stated that he has a special interest in science fiction.
He loves to go outdoor activities such as walking through nature, playing sports, and sailing on Lake Balaton. Rubik is also an avid gardener and has stated that “collecting succulents is my favourite pastime.