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The History of the Rubik’s Cube

In millions of homes worldwide, there is a small, multi-colored block known as a Rubik’s Cube.  This cube has also provided entertainment to all ages by having people try their hardest to solve it.  Despite Rubik’s Cube's popularity, many people do not know how it came to be.  In this essay, I will talk about the origins of the Rubik’s Cube and why everyone loves to play with it.

To begin, this origin story dates back to 1974 when Erno Rubik first assembled a cubed puzzle.  Rubik was a Hungarian teacher and serious puzzler, and this original cube was called.  This Magic Cube was thus picked up by a toy company called Ideal Toy and Novelty and was renamed the Rubik’s Cube to honor the original creator. 

After this cube went on the market, it created an uprising in puzzlers wishing to purchase it.   Within two years, one hundred million of them were purchased, making the Rubik’s Cube the most popular puzzle ever!  The demand for Rubik’s Cubes did not just stop after a few years but continued for decades; as of 2018, there were more than 350 million sold!  This incredible popularity thus allowed other companies to come out with books and activities related to the Rubik’s Cube. 

The rise of technology and social media has also promoted the expansion of the Rubik’s Cube.  Many users of the site YouTube would video themselves solving a Rubik’s Cube and then teaching the viewers how to solve one.  This prompted more and more people to get out there and buy a Rubik’s Cube.

At first glance, a child might pick up this toy and try their hardest to match all the colors, yet they still fail.  The unique thing about this puzzle is that a specific algorithm is used to solve it.  First, players must create a white cross with the little cubes.  After that, an all-white side must be completed; this is the first step to solving this complex puzzle.  The yellow cross comes next, along with a completely yellow side, and one must also orient the corners.  This step is the most difficult, but once that is complete, the Rubik’s Cube is close to being done!  Although these steps seem relatively simple, they are not.  It could take someone hours to solve a Rubik’s Cube, especially if it is their first time using one.  Despite this difficulty, many people are considered experts and have started Rubik’s Cube competitions. 

The people who compete in these competitions are called “speedcubers,” they dedicate hours to perfecting the craft.  In March 2023, Yusheng Du became the fastest person to solve a 3x3 Rubik’s Cube, doing it in just under 3.47 seconds!  The invention of the Rubik’s Cube has not just brought on simple competitions but also insane ones.  There are competitions of “speedcubers” trying to solve Rubik’s Cubes with one hand, blindfolded, and even with their feet!  People love contests, and the invention of the Rubik’s Cube has provided much entertainment. 

Many users of the Rubik’s Cube know of its typical design: a 3x3 cube with each side being a different color.  Although this was the original cube, there have been many different kinds of cubes made.  These cubes range from a simple 2x2, all the way up to a “Pillow,” which is a 13x13.  These ingenious puzzles do not just come in cube shapes; over the years, inventors have created triangle and star patterns.  Some of these cubes are almost impossible to solve, taking experts hours as well.  It is incredible how the invention of a little 3x3 cube led to so many different shapes and patterns of other cubes. 

The Rubik’s Cube has secured its position as one of the most well-known puzzles and things in the world.  With its six different sides, a typical 3x3 Rubik’s Cube can have up to 43 quintillion configurations.  Despite this absurd number, a Rubiks Cube can be 20 moves or less. 

This revolutionary puzzle is a great way to keep guests of any age entertained.  Whether a Rubik’s Cube is used for a party setting, in which different people all try to solve, or just as a fun game to keep young kids entertained, it is no doubt always helpful.  It would be interesting if Mr. Rubik never thought to invent this puzzle.  Would someone else have had the same vision?  Would Rubik’s Cubes never exist?  Luckily for all the people in the world, this puzzle was invented, with it, with hours of entertainment and fun.

 Edited by: Whitney 

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