25th Anniversay of Erno Rubik's Magic Cube.
First introduced to the Western World
by Pentangle Puzzles in 1978.


A selection of original Magic Cubes from Hungary and promotional material used by PENTANGLE PUZZLES when they first introduced the new puzzle to the Western World.

 

Magic Cubes, from left to right, the original Hungarian packing, Pentangle's first two packs, and Ideal's first pack.

In December 1977 a fellow puzzle collector, Tibor Szentivanyi, who lived in Budapest wrote to James Dalgety at PENTANGLE describing a new puzzle: A "Magic Cube" which consisted of 27 little cubes each side of which could be turned without them falling apart.

Initially James thought Tibor's English must be faulty, as such an object was obviously impossible. However soon James was amazed & intrigued when he found himself, possibly the first person in the West, to have a Buvos Kocka (Magic Cube) as it was called, an invention which would later become known as a RUBIK'S CUBE and out craze all previous crazes. PENTANGLE soon secured the exclusive rights to distribute the Magic Cube within the United Kingdom.

In June 1979 Professor David Singmaster, who had first seen the cube at a mathematical conference in Helsinki in 1978, wrote a brilliant article in the Sunday Observer extolling the virtues of the cube. This for a while boosted Pentangle's mail order sales in excess of their trade sales!

At this time Hungary was a Communist country and all merchandise was handled through state controlled organisations.   By the end of 1979 the Hungarians had given the World rights to Ideal Toy Corporation in the USA including, in breach of their agreements with Pentangle, the UK rights.

Ideal Toy allowed Pentangle to sell to the Gift trade in the UK but not to the much larger Toy Trade. Ideal Toy renamed it Rubik's Cube. Severn Towns Ltd. registered "Rubik" as a Trademark. In January 1981 The Cube Craze peaked. Ideal failed to manage an adequate supply so that many Taiwanese companies started making cheap copies to fill the void. Pentangle had to stop taking orders as Ideal made it impossible for Pentangle to fulfill their backlog of orders for over 400,000 cubes.

Including pirated copies, probably around 160,000,000 cubes were sold worldwide during the craze. In April 1982 the Cube Craze collapsed taking most of the puzzle market with it. It was nearly 15 years before the market for Mechanical puzzles recovered to pre-cube levels.



Some of the earlier Hungarian spin-offs from the Cube Craze marketed by PENTANGLE:- The Dominoe (2x3x3), The Supernova (a Magic Dodecahedron), Popeye Cube (2x2x2), and Equator Puzzles.

 


A tiny selection from the huge number of variants and transforms that have been produced around the world in the past 25 years.

 

 

A 500 Forint coin. One of 10,000 minted by the Hungarian National Bank to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Cube.

Finally two alternative products from the 1980s for the majority
who never did solve "The Cube"