Uwe Meffert - Twisty puzzle designer
Uwe Meffert, German puzzle inventor and designer born on the 28th of November, 1939, has created a multitude of amazing puzzles. One of his first designs is the Pyraminx, which is tetrahedron-shaped 2 layered twisty puzzle, in which there are four triangular faces which are divided into nine identical smaller triangles. This was invented in 1971.
During the 1970s, Meffert created puzzles for his own amusement. He created a similar puzzle to the widely known Rubik’s Cube using wood and rubber bands. During this time, according to Meffert there was a big hype around Pyramid power (Wikipedia link), and Meffert himself thought it was a lot of nonsense. He wanted to prove that, so Meffert then did some research on how they affect our mental stimulation. Not thinking anybody would take interest with his puzzles, he disregarded them until the widely popular Rubik’s Cube swept the world. He later took his puzzle designs to a Japanese toymaker to promote his puzzles. The toymaker created the first real prototype which costs a huge $10,000 to make. Meffert then started producing his own puzzles under his own brand in late 1981. His Pyraminx sold over 10 million pieces in one year.
The Megaminx and Skewb
Since the Pyraminx, he has created other puzzles such as the Megaminx, which is a dodecahedron twisty-puzzle which is similar to the Rubik’s Cube, and is solved in a similar fashion to the Rubik’s Cube. There are 12 colours, each for each of the 12 faces.
A notable shape mod of Meffert’s Pyraminx is Tony Durnahm’s Skewb, which is a corner twisting puzzle. The Skewb works using a 4 axis mechanism, the exact same to the Pyraminx. It was originally called the Pyraminx Cube. This puzzle turns very differently to a regular Rubik’s Cube, but is easier to solve than the 2x2x2 Pocket Cube.
Uwe Meffert’s contribution to the speedcubing community is immense, as in 2003 the first official Pyraminx solves were held under the World Cube Association, or the WCA. The best time at the World Championship 2003, which was the first competition to hold Pyraminx as an event, was set by Andy Bellenir with a time of 14.09. However as of the 10th of February 2018, Tymon Kolasiński with a time of 1.20s. His other two big puzzles, the Skewb and the Megaminx have also become WCA events. The current best time of the Skewb is 1.10s held by Jonatan Kłosko, and the Megaminx world record held by Juan Pablo Huanqui with a time of 29.93s (as of February 2018).
Meffert is currently working within a chain of Kindergartens in Shenzhen, China trying to introduce his puzzles to children as mathematic teaching aids. He is currently living in China. Although Meffert’s has sold millions of puzzles worldwide, his company has only just started to tap into the chinese market, where there is huge potential customer base with many avid cubers in China.
Meffert’s says the constant battle will be copycats, but even this roadblock won’t slow him down. He is still creating new and exciting puzzles, and looks to make puzzles for others to enjoy.