A Rube Goldberg-inspired post about Rube Goldberg-inspired contraptions


Under the guise of conducting important research for a project, a co-worker and I have been watching Rube Goldberg-inspired videos on YouTube.

Before I pass along a few of the clips we've been sending back and forth, a little Rube trivia:

  • Reuben Garret L. Goldberg grew up in San Francisco and earned a degree in engineering from UC-Berkeley in 1904. I don't know what the L stands for.
  • His first job after college was with the City of San Francisco Water and Sewers Department.
  • Six months later, he took an office boy job with the San Francisco Chronicle. According to Toonopedia, "At first he mostly tidied the place up (and allegedly, while emptying wastebaskets, figured out what had happened to his own earlier cartoon submissions), but soon became one of the Chronicle's sports cartoonists."
  • He was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for his political cartoons in 1948.
  • In 1995, he was featured on a 32-cent stamp as part of the Comic Strip Classics series.

A better way to spend time in the office than watching Rube Goldberg videos.

YouTube user Yoshirule has created several Rube Goldberg contraptions, and explains them at great length.

A dog food dispenser.

A little father-and-son milk pouring.

"Cog" is a 2003 Honda commercial created by the London office of super-agency Wieden & Kennedy.

Purdue University holds a Rube Goldberg contest each year, sponsored by Theta Tau, a professional engineering fraternity. Here's the 2007 winner.

The Purdue Society of Professional Engineers demonstrate their contraption on Jimmy Kimmel Live in 2006.

Outdoor bell-ringing.

And finally, here's a virtual, Nintendo-themed Rube Goldberg.