- Rube Goldberg machines are complex devices that perform simple tasks in indirect, convoluted ways.
- Example: Professor Butts and the Self-Operating Napkin.
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.
- Heath Robinson was a kindred spirit in Britain.