Happy birthday Rube Goldberg!

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Rube Goldberg (July 4, 1883—December 7, 1970) was an American cartoonist and engineer. He is most remembered for his comical cartoons depicting elaborate machines that were used to perform simple tasks.

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Goldberg was born Reuben Garrett Lucius Goldberg to Max and Hannah Goldberg in San Francisco, California. He attended the University of California, Berkeley, graduating with a degree in engineering, and then went on to work at the City of San Francisco Water and Sewers Department.

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MikeandIkepanelSome of his most famous cartoons include "Mike and Ike (They Look Alike)," "Boob McNutt," "Foolish Questions," "Lala Palooza," and "The Weekly Meeting of the Tuesday Women's Club." His most famous character was named Professor Lucifer Gorgonzola Butts. Within his drawings were various comical "inventions."Goldberg, having drawn since he was four years old, set his sights on drawing for a living. He began working at the offices of the San Francisco Chronicle, submitting his drawings until one was finally published. Following this, he moved across the country to New York to work for the Evening Mail. This led to a national presence. (Image source)

One of his best known "inventions" appeared on the cover of the postcard book Rube Goldberg's Inventions! It features Professor Lucifer Gorgonzola Butts and the "Self-Operating Napkin," which goes through the following process: the "machine" 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 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 (from Wikipedia).

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In 1930, Goldberg wrote a feature film called Soup to Nuts. Many other films and television shows have since used humor derived from complex machines doing simple tasks including Looney Tunes, Tom and Jerry, Wallace and Gromit, Pee-wee's Big Adventure (1985), The Way Things Go (1987), Edward Scissorhands (1990), Back to the Future (1985), Honey, I Shrunk the Kids (1989), and The Goonies (1985).

 

"Rube Goldberg" became an adjective in Merriam Webster's Dictionary in 1931, defined as "a comically involved, complicated invention, laboriously contrived to perform a simple operation.

Goldberg's cartoons were also political, which led to a great deal of hatred directed toward him. As a result, he ordered his sons change their names for safety reasons. They chose the surname of "George."

 

 

 

Additional Info

  • Birthday Date: Friday, 04 July 2014
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