The Story of Rubik's Cube, the World’s Most Popular Toy

A perennial puzzle turns 40

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The event, in case you missed it, was called the Zonhoven Open. It took place in Belgium last March, and it witnessed 18-year-old Mats Valk do something remarkable. The lanky teen picked up a color-scrambled Rubik's Cube, whirred it around in his fingers and slammed it down—solved—in 5.55 seconds. It was a world's record—and still is.

Photo: Nick Ferrari

The doe-eyed Valk is too young and on the wrong continent to remember it, but the feat he performed in a few moments was one that, two generations ago, perplexed much of America for months.

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