Rube Goldberg: The Man And His Zany Machines

By Karen Harris
A typical Rube Goldberg machine, with levels, hammers, and rolling balls. Source: (

We know all about Rube Goldberg machines—those crazy, overly complicated contraptions designed to perform one simple task—but how much do we know about Rube Goldberg, the man? Did you know, for example, that he was a cartoonist, not a physicist? And did you know that he is the only person whose full name is listed in the dictionary as an adjective? How much do we really know about the man whose name is forever attached to the needlessly complicated, comic machines? Let's look at Rube Goldberg and his zany machines.