Rarely does a toy command the wide appeal and lasting popularity of the Rubik's Cube. Invented by Hungarian Professor Erno Rubik in 1974, the six-sided, multicolored puzzle was originally known as the Magic Cube. It was imported to the United States by the Ideal Toy Company in 1980, and launched at a Hollywood party hosted by Zsa Zsa Gabor.
The Rubik's Cube became an instant sensation, enjoying popularity among the young and old in many countries. The fad was so inescapable, in fact, that a popular collectable during the 1981 wedding of Prince Charles and Lady Diana was a Rubik's Cube emblazoned with the royal couple's image. In the three decades since the toy first hit the shelves, more than 350 million units have been sold. Why? According to Rubik himself, "People like its beauty, simplicity and form. It's really not a puzzle or a toy. It's a piece of art."