I may be too young to understand this…but I’ve heard the expression a few time. Some one will say of a very complicated machine…“it’s a Rube Goldberg design!”-what does this mean? Who was Mr. Goldberg?
Rube Goldberg was a cartoonist of ancient times who drew bizarre Wiley Coyote type contraptions for doing simple tasks.
I remember them when they were in the Sunday funnies. My favorite part of the comics. I would pour over them and be firmly convinced they would work. Years later, Sharper Image has proven me right.
What would you pour over them?
The term “Rube Goldberg contraption” has entered the lexicon so thoroughly that even people who readily use the term don’t know its origins.
I used to work for a private contractor. He once referred to someone’s plumbing as a “Rube Goldberg.” The homeowner asked what that meant, and he said, “I dunno, that’s what we call something that looks like that. Maybe he was a plumber who didn’t do very good work.”
I had to explain it to both of them.
IIRC one of Goldberg’s last published drawings was an ad for Volkswagen, in which one of his famous intricate designs showed how a car could be converted into a hatchback, which was, I believe, the innovation VW was introducing.
Not to mention “Boob McNutt,” “Stupid Questions,” “Ike and Mike,” “I’m the Guy,” and dozens of other magnificent strips from the Golden Age.
He also was instrumental in popularizing the term “Baloney!”, an innocuous and family-friendly version of Horseshit.