Erno Rubik was born in Budapest, Hungary during World War II. His mother was a poet, his father an aircraft engineer who started a company to build gliders. Rubik studied sculpture in college, but after graduating, he went back to learn architecture at a small college called the Academy of Applied Arts and Design. He remained there after his studies to teach interior design.
Rubik’s initial attraction to inventing the Cube was not in producing the best selling toy puzzle in history. The structural design problem interested Rubik; he asked, “How could the blocks move independently without falling apart?” In Rubik’s Cube, twenty-six individual little cubes or cubies make up the big Cube. Each layer of nine cubies can twist and the layers can overlap. Any three squares in a row, except diagonally, can join a new layer. Rubik’s initial attempt to use elastic bands failed, his solution was to have the blocks hold themselves together by their shape. Rubik hand carved and assembled the little cubies together. He marked each side of the big Cube with adhesive paper of a different color, and started twisting.
“It was wonderful, to see how, after only a few turns, the colors became mixed, apparently in random fashion. It was tremendously satisfying to watch this color parade. Like after a nice walk when you have seen many lovely sights you decide to go home, after a while I decided it was time to go home, let us put the cubes back in order. And it was at that moment that I came face to face with the Big Challenge: What is the way home?” – Erno Rubik
This is an excerpt from a site on the history of Erno Rubik’s cube, which became iconic of the 1980s. Today the fascination with this brilliant puzzle remains; but it has transcended it’s original purpose and become something of an iconic design in itself.