Edinburgh alumnus Tom Kremer was a games designer, entrepreneur, author and publisher
Best known for his discovery and popularisation of the Rubik’s Cube, the Edinburgh philosophy graduate had a varied and fascinating career.
In his eighties, he founded Notting Hill Editions with the aim of lifting what he felt was a forgotten writing form: the essay.
Tom Kremer was born in Transylvania in 1930 and by the time he started his studies in philosophy at Edinburgh in the early 1950s, he’d already survived the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp.
He had also fought for Israel’s independence in the 1948 Arab-Israeli War.
As a games designer and inventor, Tom created over 250 games and toys which are widely available worldwide.
He founded and ran several middle-sized games and toys companies. However, Tom is probably most known for discovering the Rubik’s Cube.
Spotting the toy at the Nuremberg toy fair in 1979, he saw the commercial potential of the ‘Magic Cube’ which had been invented five years earlier by Hungarian Ernő Rubik.
Tom bought the licence to the cube and sold it to the Ideal Toy Company. The Rubik’s Cube has since become the world’s best-selling toy.
In later life, Tom shifted his focus towards writing. His book, The Missing Heart of Europe: Does Britain Hold the Key to the Future of the Continent?, was published in 2004.
He established the essay-focused publishing company Notting Hill Editions in 2011. Two years later he created the bi-annual Essay Prize which aims to keep the mastery of essays alive.
Tom died in June 2017 at the age of 87.