At the age of nine, my family and I went on vacation to Knoxville, Tennessee to attend the 1982 World’s Fair. One of the things I remember most vividly was the giant, rotating Rubik’s Cube they had on display.
Sorry about the quality of the photo. I was nine.
Rubik’s Cubes made their American debut in 1980, and by 1982 over 100 million of the colorful cubes had been sold. To celebrate the puzzle’s success, the government of Hungary (Emo Rubik was Hungarian) paid to have this mammoth Rubik’s Cube constructed and placed outside the Hungarian pavillion. Each panel measures 2’x2′, making each side of the cube approximately 6′ tall and wide. An internal motor kept the cube constantly spinning and rotating during the duration of the fair.
After the fair, the cube was disassembled and, apparently, shuffled around Knoxville. For a while it was owned by the Knoxville College of Architecture. After changing hands a few more times (and spending years in storage), it was discovered sitting in a warehouse owned by the city, mostly rotted. As part of the 25th anniversary celebration of the 1982 World’s Fair, the cube was completely restored by the East Tennessee Historical Society.
Later that year, the giant Rubik’s Cube was moved to the lobby of a Holiday Inn (525 Henley Street), where it currently sits (but sadly, no longer rotates). Holiday Inn’s lobby overlooks the park where the giant cube was originally displayed almost 30 years ago, and visitors are welcome to stop in and see “The World’s Largest Rubik’s Cube”.
Fan of the Rubik’s Cube? Why not check out the original Retroist Rubik’s Cube podcast…