Rube Goldberg: Inventor and Cartoonist

Rube Goldberg was a brilliant cartoonist and inventor. He is best known for a series of popular cartoons he created depicting complex devices that perform simple tasks in indirect, convoluted ways — now known as Rube Goldberg machines, reports Puggal.

Goldberg received many honors in his lifetime including a Pulitzer Prize for his political cartooning in 1948.

He is the inspiration for various international competitions, known as Rube Goldberg contests, which challenge participants to make a complex machine to perform a simple task.

Goldberg produced several cartoon series, but the cartoons that brought him lasting fame involved a character named Professor Lucifer Gorgonzola Butts. In that series, Goldberg drew labeled schematics of the comical “inventions” which would later bear his name.

The “Self-Operating Napkin” is activated when the soup spoon (A) is raised to mouth, pulling string (B) and thereby jerking ladle (C) which throws cracker (D) past parrot (E). Parrot jumps after cracker and perch (F) tilts, upsetting seeds (G) into pail (H). Extra weight in pail pulls cord (I), which opens and lights automatic cigar lighter (J), setting off skyrocket (K) which causes sickle (L) to cut string (M) and allow the pendulum with the attached napkin to swing back and forth, thereby wiping chin.

In 1931, the Merriam—Webster dictionary adopted the word “Rube Goldberg” as an adjective defined as accomplishing something simple through complex means.

Photo by Puggal/Wkipedia.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *