Excellent piece in The Guardian with Erno Rubik, inventor, and David Kremer, the president of the Rubik’s brand.
Professor Erno Rubik, inventor
In the mid-1970s, I was teaching design at the Academy of Applied Arts in Budapest. I was searching for a way to demonstrate 3D movement to my students and one day found myself staring into the River Danube, looking at how the water moved around the pebbles. This became the inspiration for the cube’s twisting mechanism. The fact that it can do this without falling apart is part of its magic.
I experimented in my mother’s flat, using wood, rubber bands and paper clips to make a prototype. I needed some sort of coding to bring sense to the rotations of the cube, so I used the simplest and strongest solution: primary colours. Putting the stickers on the finished cube felt very emotional. I knew it was revolutionary. The moment I started twisting the sides, I could see it was a proper puzzle – but what I didn’t know was whether it could be solved. It took me weeks: there are 43 quintillion permutations!