Rubik's Cube is a 3-D combination puzzle invented in 1974 by Hungarian sculptor and professor of architecture Erno Rubik. Originally called the Magic Cube,the puzzle was licensed by Rubik to be sold by Ideal Toy Corp. in 1980 via businessman Tibor Laczi and Seven Towns founder Tom Kremer,and won the German Game of the Year special award for Best Puzzle that year. As of January 2009, 350 million cubes had been sold worldwide making it the world's top-selling puzzle game.It is widely considered to be the world's best-selling toy.
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.
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 at the end of 1977. By this time, Erno Rubik was married.
Two other people applied for similar patents at about the same time as Rubik. Terutoshi Ishige applied a year after Rubik, for a Japanese patent on a very similar cube. An American, Larry Nichols, patented a cube before Rubik, 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.