Monday, February 07, 2005

That 80's Cube

Cute lead, but wrong:
If one had bet on which fad of the early 1970's would achieve perennial popularity - and this was the epoch that brought us Pong, Rubik's cube and Wings - the Pink Floyd laser light show would probably have not been given the best odds.

The Rubik's Cube was a fad of the early 70's?

Well, it was invented by a Hungarian in the early 70's, but it did not gain popularity there until 1979 and clearly had not even minimally entered the Western consciousness until the 1980's.
Apart from a small seepage across the Hungarian borders, the Cube made its international debut at the Toy Fairs of London, Paris, Nuremberg and New York in January/February, 1980. With Erno Rubik demonstrating his own creation, the Cube made an immediate impact. The trade buyers were impressed, orders rolled in. There was just one problem: there were no Cubes! Western quality standards and packaging norms meant drastic changes in the Hungarian manufacturing process. This, as with any change under a communist in regime, was slow in coming. Communication between New York and Budapest, given the linguistic and cultural differences, despite the frequent interventions of Tom Kremer, were not easy. The new Cube was easier to manipulate. Ideal Toys renamed itRubik's Cube. The first Rubik's Cubes were exported from Hungary in May 1980.

I suppose, in a technical sense, that the era may have "brought us" the cube, if by "brought" and "70's" you mean gaining in popularity in 1979 in a Communist bloc country. But for anyone who remembers the phenomenon in the U.S., it was clearly an 80's obsession.

Interesting side note -- the thing was originally called the "Magic Cube."

Permalink posted by Jonathan : 6:35 AM

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?