The Info List - Rube Goldberg

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Reuben Garrett Lucius Goldberg (July 4, 1883 – December 7, 1970), known best as Rube Goldberg, was an American cartoonist, sculptor, author, engineer, and inventor. Goldberg is best known for a series of popular cartoons depicting complicated gadgets that perform simple tasks in indirect, convoluted ways, giving rise to the term Rube Goldberg
Rube Goldberg
machines for any similar gadget or process. Goldberg received many honors in his lifetime, including a Pulitzer Prize for his political cartooning in 1948 and the Banshees' Silver Lady Award in 1959.[1] Goldberg was a founding member and the first president of the National Cartoonists Society,[2] and he is the namesake of the Reuben Award, which the organization awards to the Cartoonist
of the Year. He is the inspiration for various international competitions, known as Rube Goldberg Machine Contests, which challenge participants to make a complicated machine to perform a simple task.


1 Personal life 2 Career 3 Cultural legacy

3.1 Film and television 3.2 Games

4 See also 5 References 6 External links

Personal life Goldberg was born July 4, 1883, in San Francisco, California, to Jewish parents Max and Hannah (Cohen) Goldberg.[3] He was the third of seven children, three of whom died as children (older brother Garrett, younger brother Walter, and younger sister Lillian also survived).[4] Goldberg began tracing illustrations when he was four years old, and first took professional drawing lessons when he was eleven.[4] Goldberg married Irma Seeman on October 17, 1916.[3] They lived at 98 Central Park West in New York City
New York City
and had two sons named Thomas and George. During World War II
World War II
Goldberg's sons changed their surname, at Goldberg's insistence, because of the amount of hatred towards him stemming from the political nature of his cartoons.[5] Thomas chose the surname of George, in order to honor his brother; George, wanting to keep a sense of family cohesiveness, adopted the same surname. Thomas and George's children now run a company called RGI (Rube Goldberg Incorporated) to maintain the Goldberg name. John George (Thomas's son) is assisted by his cousin Jennifer George[6][7] (George's daughter) and John's son Joshua George to keep the family name alive.[8] Career

Rube Goldberg
Rube Goldberg
with family, 1929

Goldberg's father was a San Francisco
San Francisco
police and fire commissioner, who encouraged the young Reuben to pursue a career in engineering. Rube graduated from the University of California, Berkeley
University of California, Berkeley
in 1904 with a degree in Engineering[1] and was hired by the city of San Francisco as an engineer for the Water and Sewers Department. After six months he resigned his position with the city to join the San Francisco Chronicle where he became a sports cartoonist.[1] The following year, he took a job with the San Francisco
San Francisco
Bulletin, where he remained until he moved to New York City
New York City
in 1907, finding employment as a cartoonist with the New York Evening Mail.[4] The New York Evening Mail
New York Evening Mail
was syndicated to the first newspaper syndicate, the McClure Newspaper Syndicate, giving Goldberg's cartoons a wider distribution, and by 1915 he was earning $25,000 per year and being billed by the paper as America's most popular cartoonist.[4] Arthur Brisbane
Arthur Brisbane
had offered Goldberg $2,600 per year in 1911 in an unsuccessful attempt to get him to move to William Randolph Hearst's newspaper chain, and in 1915 raised the offer to $50,000 per year. Rather than lose Goldberg to Hearst, the New York Evening Mail
New York Evening Mail
matched the salary offer and formed the Evening Mail Syndicate to syndicate Goldberg's cartoons nationally.[4] Goldberg was syndicated by the McNaught Syndicate from 1922 until 1934. A prolific artist, Goldberg produced several cartoon series simultaneously, including Mike and Ike (They Look Alike), Boob McNutt, Foolish Questions,[9][10] What Are You Kicking About,[11] Telephonies,[12] Lala Palooza, The Weekly Meeting of the Tuesday Women's Club, and the uncharacteristically serious soap-opera strip, Doc Wright, which ran for 10 months beginning January 29, 1933.[13] The cartoons that brought him lasting fame involved a character named Professor Lucifer Gorgonzola Butts. In that series, Goldberg drew labeled schematics of the comical "inventions" that would later bear his name. From 1938 to 1941, Goldberg drew two weekly strips for the Register and Tribune Syndicate: Brad and Dad (1939-1941) and Side Show (1938-1941).[14] Cultural legacy The popularity of Goldberg's cartoons was such that the term "Goldbergian" was in use in print by 1915,[15] and "Rube Goldberg" by 1928.[16] "Rube Goldberg" appeared in the Random House Dictionary of the English Language in 1966 meaning "having a fantastically complicated improvised appearance", or "deviously complex and impractical."[4]:118 The 1915 usage of "Goldbergian" was in reference to Goldberg's early comic strip Foolish Questions which he drew from 1909 to 1934, while later use of the terms "Goldbergian", "Rube Goldberg" and " Rube Goldberg
Rube Goldberg
machine" refer to the crazy inventions for which he is now best known from his strip The Inventions of Professor Lucifer Gorgonzola Butts, drawn from 1914 to 1964.[4]:305 The corresponding term in the UK was, and still is, "Heath Robinson", after the English illustrator with an equal devotion to odd machinery, also portraying sequential or chain reaction elements.

Professor Butts and the Self-Operating Napkin (1931)

Goldberg's work was commemorated posthumously in 1995 with the inclusion of Rube Goldberg's Inventions, depicting his 1931 "Self-Operating Napkin" in the Comic Strip Classics
Comic Strip Classics
series of U.S. postage stamps.[17] Film and television

Advertisement (1916)

Advertisement (1916)

Rube Goldberg
Rube Goldberg
wrote a feature film featuring his machines and sculptures called Soup to Nuts, which was released in 1930 and starred Ted Healy
Ted Healy
and the pre- Curly Howard
Curly Howard
version of The Three Stooges. In the 1962 John Wayne movie Hatari!, an invention to catch monkeys by character Pockets, played by Red Buttons, is described as a "Rube Goldberg." In the late 1960s and early 70s, educational shows like Sesame Street, Vision On
Vision On
and The Electric Company
The Electric Company
routinely showed bits that involved Rube Goldberg
Rube Goldberg
devices, including the Rube Goldberg
Rube Goldberg
Alphabet Contraption, and the What Happens Next Machine.[18][19] Various other films and cartoons have included highly complicated machines that perform simple tasks. Among these are Flåklypa Grand Prix, Looney Tunes, Tom and Jerry, Wallace and Gromit, Pee-wee's Big Adventure, The Way Things Go, Edward Scissorhands, Back to the Future, Honey, I Shrunk the Kids, The Goonies, Gremlins, the Saw film series, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, The Cat from Outer Space, Malcolm, Hotel For Dogs, the Home Alone film series, Family Guy, American Dad!, and Waiting... Also in the Final Destination film series the characters often die in Rube Goldberg-esque ways. In the film The Great Mouse Detective, the villain Ratigan attempts to kill the film's heroes, Basil of Baker Street and David Q. Dawson, with a Rube Goldberg
Rube Goldberg
style device. The classic video in this genre was done by the artist duo Peter Fischli & David Weiss in 1987 with their 30-minute video "Der Lauf der Dinge" or "The Way Things Go". Honda produced a video in 2003 called "The Cog" using many of the same principles that Fischli and Weiss had done in 1987. In 2005, the American alternative rock/indie band The Bravery
The Bravery
released a video for their debut single, "An Honest Mistake," which features the band performing the song in the middle of a Rube Goldberg
Rube Goldberg
machine. In 1999, an episode of The X-Files
The X-Files
was titled "The Goldberg Variation". The episode intertwined characters FBI agents Mulder and Scully, a simple apartment super, Henry Weems (Willie Garson) and an ailing young boy, Ritchie Lupone (Shia LaBeouf) in a real-life Goldberg device. The 2010 music video "This Too Shall Pass – RGM Version" by the rock band OK Go
features a machine that, after four minutes of kinetic activity, shoots the band members in the face with paint. "RGM" presumably stands for Rube Goldberg
Rube Goldberg
Machine.[20] 2012 The CBS show Elementary features a machine in its opening sequence. 2014 The Web Series, "Deadbeat," on Hulu features an episode titled, "The Ghost in the Machine," which features the protagonist, Kevin, helping the ghost of Rube Goldberg
Rube Goldberg
complete a contraption that will bring his grandchildren together after making a collection of random items into a machine that ends up systematically injuring two of his grandchildren so they end up in the same hospital and finally meet. Games Both board games and video games have been inspired by Goldberg's creations, such as the 60's board game Mouse Trap, the 1990s series of The Incredible Machine games, and Crazy Machines.[citation needed] The Humongous Entertainment
Humongous Entertainment
game Freddi Fish 2: The Case of the Haunted Schoolhouse involves searching for the missing pieces to a Rube Goldberg machine to complete the game. In 1909 Goldberg invented the "Foolish Questions" game based on his successful cartoon by the same name. The game was published in many versions from 1909 to 1934.[21] Rube Works: The Official Rube Goldberg
Rube Goldberg
Invention Game, the first game authorized by The Heirs of Rube Goldberg, was published by Unity Games (the publishing arm of Unity Technologies) in November 2013.[22] See also

Chindōgu Deathtrap (plot device) Domino effect Domino show Frederick Rowland Emett W. Heath Robinson, British artist who drew "inventions" similar to Rube Goldberg's Jean Tinguely, Swiss artist who created Rube Goldberg–like sculptures Mickey One PythagoraSwitch Storm P, a Danish contemporary artist who drew "inventions" similar to Rube Goldberg's


^ a b c Goldberg, Reuben. "Members / In Memoriam / Rube Goldberg" (JPEG). reuben.org. National Cartoonists Society. Retrieved August 5, 2009.  ^ "The History of the NCS" Archived December 23, 2011, at the Wayback Machine.. reuben.org. National Cartoonists Society. ^ a b Contemporary Authors: First revision, Volumes 5–8. Gale Research Company. 1969. p. 448.  ^ a b c d e f g Marzio, Peter C. (1973). Rube Goldberg: His Life and Work. Harper and Row. ISBN 0060128305.  ^ Peterson, Alison J. (November 20, 2007). "George W. George, at 87; writer, producer of films and Broadway plays". New York Times News Service. Boston Globe. Retrieved January 28, 2015.  ^ "The Art of Rube Goldberg". Jennifer George NYC. Retrieved December 13, 2012.  ^ George, Jennifer. "About". Rubegoldberg.com.  ^ Peterson, Alison J. (November 20, 2007). "Obituaries – George W. George, at 87; writer, producer of films and Broadway plays". The Boston Globe. New York Times News Service. Retrieved November 28, 2007.  ^ [1] at Don Markstein's Toonopedia. Archived from the original on July 30, 2016. ^ "Foolish Questions hi". The San Francisco
San Francisco
Call. December 2, 1910. p. 13.  ^ "What Are You Kicking About". The San Francisco
San Francisco
Call. June 1, 1910. p. 13.  ^ "Telephonies". The San Francisco
San Francisco
Call. July 12, 1911. p. 10.  ^ Doc Wright at Don Markstein's Toonopedia. Archived April 4, 2016, at WebCite from the original on April 4, 2016. ^ Goldberg profile, Who's Who of American Comic Book Artists, 1928–1999. Accessed Jan. 5, 2018. ^ Oxford English Dictionary Online. Oxford University Press. 1915 Vanity Fair The Goldbergian answer would be ‘No, I paint my nose and eyes red every day to frighten the gypsy-moths away.'  access-date= requires url= (help) ^ Atkinson, J. Brooks (10 February 1928). "THE PLAY; "Rain or Shine," Joe Cook". New York Times. p. 26. He then introduces the Fuller Construction Orchestra, which is one of those Rube Goldberg
Rube Goldberg
crazy mechanical elaborations for passing a modest musical impulse from a buzz.  access-date= requires url= (help) ^ "American Topics: 20 Classic Comic Strips Get (Postage) Stamp of Approval". The New York Times. May 8, 1995. Retrieved August 5, 2009.  ^ "Sesame Street: What Happens Next Machine". Youtube.com. August 6, 2010. Retrieved December 8, 2013.  ^ " Rube Goldberg
Rube Goldberg
alphabet contraption, Sesame Street". Youtube.com. Retrieved December 8, 2013.  ^ " OK Go
– This Too Shall Pass – Rube Goldberg
Rube Goldberg
Machine version". YouTube. March 1, 2010. Retrieved March 2, 2010.  ^ Wolfe, Maynard Frank (2000). Rube Goldberg
Rube Goldberg
Inventions. Simon & Schuster. p. 25. ISBN 0-684-86724-9.  ^ "Rube-Goldberg Puzzler "Rube Works" Now Available for iPad and iPhone". Gamasutra. November 13, 2013. Retrieved December 27, 2013. 

Wolfe, Maynard Frank (2000). Rube Goldberg: Inventions. New York: Simon & Schuster. ISBN 0684867249. 

External links

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Rube Goldberg.

Official Rube Goldberg
Rube Goldberg
website Toonopedia entry Smithsonian's Archives of American Art: Oral History Interview with Rube Goldberg, 1970 NCS Awards Rube Goldberg
Rube Goldberg
on IMDb Guide to the Rube Goldberg
Rube Goldberg
Papers at The Bancroft Library Rube Goldberg
Rube Goldberg
interviewed by Edward Murrow, 1959 Rube Works: The Official Rube Goldberg
Rube Goldberg
Invention Game

v t e

Pulitzer Prize for Editorial Cartooning
Pulitzer Prize for Editorial Cartooning

Rollin Kirby
Rollin Kirby
(1922) Ding Darling
Ding Darling
(1924) Rollin Kirby
Rollin Kirby
(1925) D. R. Fitzpatrick
D. R. Fitzpatrick
(1926) Nelson Harding
Nelson Harding
(1927) Nelson Harding
Nelson Harding
(1928) Rollin Kirby
Rollin Kirby
(1929) Charles R. Macauley
Charles R. Macauley
(1930) Edmund Duffy
Edmund Duffy
(1931) John T. McCutcheon
John T. McCutcheon
(1932) H. M. Talburt
H. M. Talburt
(1933) Edmund Duffy
Edmund Duffy
(1934) Ross A. Lewis (1935) C. D. Batchelor
C. D. Batchelor
(1937) Vaughn Shoemaker
Vaughn Shoemaker
(1938) Charles G. Werner (1939) Edmund Duffy
Edmund Duffy
(1940) Jacob Burck
Jacob Burck
(1941) Herbert Lawrence Block (1942) Jay Norwood Darling
Jay Norwood Darling
(1943) Clifford K. Berryman
Clifford K. Berryman
(1944) Sergeant Bill Mauldin
Bill Mauldin
(1945) Bruce Alexander Russell (1946) Vaughn Shoemaker
Vaughn Shoemaker
(1947) Reuben L. Goldberg (1948) Lute Pease
Lute Pease
(1949) James T. Berryman
James T. Berryman

Complete list (1922–1950) (1951–1975) (1976–2000) (2001–2025)

v t e

Society of Illustrators' Hall of Fame



Norman Rockwell


Dean Cornwell Harold Von Schmidt



Fred Cooper


Floyd Davis


Edward A. Wilson


Walter Biggs


Arthur William Brown


Al Parker


Al Dorne


Robert Fawcett


Peter Helck


Austin Briggs



Rube Goldberg


Stevan Dohanos


Ray Prohaska


Jon Whitcomb


Charles Dana Gibson Tom Lovell N. C. Wyeth


Bernie Fuchs Maxfield Parrish Howard Pyle


Harvey Dunn John Falter Winslow Homer


J. C. Leyendecker Wallace Morgan Robert Peak


Norman Price Frederic Remington Coby Whitmore


Edwin Austin Abbey Lorraine Fox Ben Stahl



Howard Chandler Christy James Montgomery Flagg Saul Tepper


Stan Galli John Gannam Frederic R. Gruger


John Clymer Carl Erickson Henry P. Raleigh


Franklin Booth Mark English Noel Sickles


John LaGatta Neysa Moran McMein James Williamson


Arthur Burdett Frost Charles Marion Russell Robert Weaver


Al Hirschfeld Rockwell Kent


Maurice Sendak Haddon Sundblom


René Bouché Pruett Carter Robert T. McCall


Erté John Held Jr. Arthur Ignatius Keller



Robert Riggs Morton Roberts Burt Silverman


Jessie Willcox Smith William Arthur Smith Donald Teague


Joe Bowler Edwin A. Georgi Dorothy Hood


Robert McGinnis Thomas Nast Coles Phillips


Harry Anderson Elizabeth Shippen Green Ben Shahn


James Avati McClelland Barclay Joseph Clement Coll Frank E. Schoonover


Anton Otto Fischer Winsor McCay Violet Oakley Mead Schaeffer Herb Tauss


Chesley Bonestell Joe DeMers Diane Dillon Leo Dillon Maynard Dixon Harrison Fisher Frank McCarthy


Boris Artzybasheff Robert M. Cunningham Kerr Eby Frank Frazetta Edward Penfield Martha Sawyers


Mitchell Hooks Andrew Loomis Antonio Lopez Stanley Meltzoff Thomas Moran Rose Cecil O'Neill Adolph Treidler



James Bama Nell Brinkley Charles Livingston Bull David Stone Martin Alice and Martin Provensen James Allen St. John


John James Audubon Will H. Bradley Howard Brodie F.O.C. Darley Charles R. Knight Franklin McMahon


E. Simms Campbell Milton Glaser Jean-Leon Huens Daniel Schwartz


Elaine Duillo David Levine Bill Mauldin Jack Potter


John Berkey John Groth Robert Andrew Parker Saul Steinberg


Jack Davis Brad Holland Herbert Paus Albert Beck Wenzell


Gilbert Bundy Bradshaw Crandell Keith Ferris Harold Foster Frank H. Netter Alvin J. Pimsler Jack Neal Unruh


David Grove Gary Kelley Edward Windsor Kemble Russell Patterson George Stavrinos


Benton Clark Matt Clark Kinuko Y. Craft Naiad Einsel Walter Einsel


Mario Cooper Paul Davis Laurence Fellows Arnold Roth Herbert Morton Stoops



Charles Edward Chambers Earl Oliver Hurst Orson Byron Lowell Wilson McLean Chris Van Allsburg


Kenneth Paul Block Alan E. Cober Robert Heindel Fred Otnes Jerry Pinkney


Ludwig Bemelmans R. O. Blechman John Collier Edward Gorey John Sloan Nancy Stahl


Ted CoConis George Herriman Sanford Kossin Arthur Rackham Charles M. Schulz Murray Tinkelman


Mary Blair Walter Everett Al Jaffee Syd Mead William Cameron Menzies Alex Raymond Edward Sorel


Bernard D'Andrea Walter Baumhofer Will Eisner Virgil Finlay Ted Lewin and Betsy Lewin Patrick Oliphant Arthur Szyk

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WorldCat Identities VIAF: 66475332 LCCN: n79052236 ISNI: 0000 0000 8145 5875 GND: 128939567 SUDOC: 168871092 BNF: cb11930319q (data) ULAN: 500053