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Q: Why Were People Initially Afraid of the Rubik’s Cube?

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A: When Hungarian architecture professor Erno Rubik introduced his “magic cube” to America in 1980, some people feared the popular puzzler would quite seriously drive fans mad. And legitimately so.

Way back in 1874, a game called the “15’s Puzzle” was blamed for inducing insanity in roughly 1,500 people. And while Rubik’s-Cube addiction was apparently responsible for the break-up of at least one marriage (it’s true!), Man triumphed over Toy in this particular case.

In fact, by 1983, the puzzler was declared so harmless that it even got its own Saturday-morning cartoon: Rubik The Amazing Cube. Of course, the toy didn’t exactly hurt Rubik’s bank account either. The cubes retailed between $6 and $10, and in just 1980 alone, over 4.5 million of them were sold.

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