Who is Erno Rubik?
The ‘Rubik’s Cube’ is most popular toy of all time and a staple to the popular culture of the 1980s. It was invented by and named after Ernő Rubik, a young Hungarian professor. He taught architecture at the time and had always been amazed by the complexities of structure and math. In an attempt to challenge his students, Rubik engineered a solid cube that could be twisted many different ways and not fall apart. As a handmade item, this was a difficult enough feat – but the real trick was the puzzle included in the toy. Each side was painted a solid color; twisting the cube randomly would rearrange the pieces, and the near impossible objective would be to work out how to put this cube back correctly again. It took Rubik himself over a month to figure out the solution to the problem he created. He had difficulty getting this toy patented and sold, however, facing many rejections from toy companies. However, once the toy took off and was able to get outside of communist Hungary, it defined a generation. It is estimated that one in seven people in the world have touched a Rubik’s Cube. Rubik continues to work as an educationist and is a board member of the Rubik’s company.
Childhood & Early Life
He was born to Ernő Rubik, a flight engineer, and Magdolna Szántó, a poet, during the Second World War. He has credited his father as his main inspiration in nearly all interviews.
As a flight engineer, his father gained an international reputation for his skills. His son credited this to his father’s ability to never give up, even if it meant doing something with your own two hands.
In 1958, he began to study sculpture at a secondary arts school and, upon graduating four years later, enrolled at ‘Budapest University of Technology’ to study architecture.
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Beginning in 1971 and continuing for eight years, he taught architecture at ‘Budapest College of Applied Arts’, a division of the same college he attended.
In 1974, he began and completed the first few models of his cube puzzle with the intent to challenge his students. He applied for a patent the following year.
He struggled to get his puzzle built because of the failing Hungarian economy. Eventually, a smaller company produced his toy and it sold moderately well countrywide. At this time, it was titled ‘The Magic Cube’.
In 1979, he was able to convince a New York based company, called “Ideal Toys”, to mass produce it. They rebranded it completely and renamed it the ‘Rubik’s Cube’.
Upon its release, the ‘Rubik’s Cube’ became a sensation internationally, selling over 350 million as of 2015. It was awarded ‘Toy of the Year’ for several years in a row in many different countries.
In the early 1980s, ‘...És játék’ (translated to “…And Games”) magazine asked him to be their editor. Here, he worked on an intricate puzzle to publish.
He went on to create his own, self-titled company that would invent toys like ‘Rubik’s Snake’, ‘Rubik’s 360’, and ‘Rubik’s Magic’ in subsequent years. This company also produces modern furniture with very interesting designs.
In 1990, he was appointed head of the ‘Hungarian Engineering Academy’. In his time here, he has created a fund for students who show promise in clever designs.
Rubik handmade, the ‘Rubik’s Cube’, the best-selling toy of all time in 1974 to challenge his students in the classroom. After his first toy sold over hundreds of millions of prototypes, he created his own company that would focus on creating more of these puzzles.
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A teacher his whole life, he returned to education in 1990, when he became president of the ‘Hungarian Engineering Academy’. He looks out for promising students who might create an impossible puzzle on their own.
Awards & Achievements
Beginning in 1980 and continuing for three consecutive years, he took home the prize of ‘Toy of the Year’ from many countries, including Finland, Sweden, Italy, the United Kingdom, and Germany.
In 1982, the ‘Museum of Modern Art’ in New York City decided to place a Rubik’s Cube in one of their galleries.
In 2009, he was awarded the European Union ‘Ambassador of the Year of Creativity and Innovation’.
Most recently, in 2014, he was named an ‘Honorary Citizen of Budapest’. Even though he has received far more scientific and prestigious awards, this title meant much to him personally.
Personal Life & Legacy
He is married to Ágnes Hégely, and together they have four children named Ágnes, Anna, Ernő Jr, and Szonja. He is extraordinarily private with his personal life, rarely making public appearances or granting interviews. In such rare moments, he has named his hobbies as reading and gardening.
The ‘Rubik’s Cube’ defined the 1980s by creating an art movement known as ‘Rubik Cubism’ and appearing in Hollywood and music videos. In 2014, he began a six-year tour of “Beyond Rubik’s Cube,” a program that will talk about science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.
As estimated net worth of Ernő Rubik is not readily available to the public eye, as of February 2015. However, one can assume the man that invented the best-selling toy of all time amassed a decent sized fortune for himself.
There are exactly 43,252,003,274,489,856,000 ways for a Rubik’s Cube to be arranged. Only one of these is the correct solution to the puzzle invented by this famous personality.
The world’s largest Rubik’s cube is three meters tall and weighs over 500kg. This cube is located in Knoxville, Tennessee.
He is an enormous introvert, hardly ever attending competitions for the ‘Cube’. He claims that being recognized in public makes him very uncomfortable.