Rubik's Cube

Rubik's Cube

Synopsis of Toy

Finally, smart kids got to feel cool on the playground. Can’t quite get the blue side to line up right? Bring that pesky cube on over here. That mess tough for you to handle, Mr. Playground Bully, sir? Let me show you how a real man does it. What’s that, Prettiest Girl in School? You’ll slow skate with me if I make the checkerboard pattern for you? Sure! Okay, maybe that last one was delving into fantasy, but geeks had dreams, too.

More than just a toy, Rubik’s Cube was a puzzle, a teaching tool, a weeding process for the mathematically gifted, and a bona fide international craze. Hungarian inventor Ernö Rubik made his first 3x3x3 color-coded cube back in the mid-70’s, but it was the following decade that made Rubik a household name. Ideal imported the cube to the U.S. in 1980, and before long, they were the hottest things around.

It looked simple enough: a six-sided cube, each side a different color. Sides could be rotated on any axis, allowing cubers to create a scrambled mess of colors on every side. The task then was to restore cubic harmony, getting each side back to a solid color. Actually, in retrospect, it didn’t really look simple at all.

As Rubik’s fever spread worldwide, so did all the assorted pop phenomena. The cube popped up in movies like Megaforce, somebody wrote a song, others published solution guides, and at least one enterprising company marketed a foolproof fix for hopelessly scrambled cubes—a fresh set of color stickers to cover up your cube’s shame. Some frustrated customers hit on the even lower-tech solution of just taking the blasted thing apart piece by piece and putting it back together in the right order. And as a final testament to the cube’s superfad status, cartoon makers Ruby-Spears produced Saturday morning’s Rubik the Amazing Cube for the 1983 fall season.

For those who “got” it, Rubik’s Cube was an endless fascination. Cube prodigies raced each other to a solution at recess, and formal competitions began to evolve. 1982 brought an official Rubik’s Cube World Championship in the cube’s native Budapest, Hungary, wherein 19 speed-cubers aged 14-26 raced for the title (American Minh Thai came away with the golden cube trophy).

By 1983, Rubik’s Cubes had become one of the definitive icons of the new decade, with more than an estimated 100 million sold worldwide. Puzzle games were suddenly all the rage, and everyone seemed to get into the act. The Rubik name graced more than a few variants of its own, from the altered-sized Rubik’s Pocket Cube (2x2x2) and Rubik’s Revenge (4x4x4) to the shape-making Rubik’s Snake to further puzzles like Rubik’s Magic.

The fad—as all fads are wont to do—cooled off after a few years, but Rubik’s Cubes continue to challenge and torment would-be geometric geniuses today. Newer puzzles like the Rubik’s Tangle, Rubik’s Triamid and Rubik’s Clock have kept puzzle masters on their toes, and Ernö Rubik’s name has been added to everything from strategy games like Rubik’s Eclipse to an officially-licensed Darth Maul Rubik’s Cube. Through it all, the Rubik’s Cube has remained the bread-and-butter of the puzzle toy industry, moving it well beyond fad status and onto the roll of all-time toy greats.

Release History of Toy

1974 - Rubik's Cube

Sub Categories of Toys


Toy and Game Manufacturer

Ideal, OddzOn

Other Toy Links