Rube Goldberg

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Rube Goldberg
Reuben Garrett Lucius Goldberg
BirthplaceSan Francisco, California, U.S.
Engineer, sculptor, news reporter, cartoonist
Known for Rube Goldberg machines

Goldberg, Rube

(Reuben Lucius Goldberg), 1883–1970, American cartoonist and sculptor, b. San Francisco. After drawing cartoons for San Francisco newspapers, he moved to New York City. There he worked for the New York Evening Mail until his cartoons became syndicated in 1921. Goldberg originated the successful comic strip "Boob McNutt" and the panel series "Foolish Questions." He is known for his drawings of ludicrously intricate machinery meant to perform simple operations. Goldberg worked as a political cartoonist for the New York Sun and later for the New York Journal American. After 1964 he concentrated on sculpture. He is the author of How to Remove the Cotton from a Bottle of Aspirin (1959) and Rube Goldberg vs. the Machine Age (1968).


See biography by P. C. Marzio (1973); M. F. Wolfe, Rube Goldberg: Inventions (2011); J. George, The Art of Rube Goldberg (2013).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2013, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

Goldberg, Rube

(1883–1970) designed elaborate contraptions to effect simple results. [Am. Hist.: Espy, 111]
Allusions—Cultural, Literary, Biblical, and Historical: A Thematic Dictionary. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

Goldberg, (Reuben Lucius) Rube

(1883–1970) cartoonist; born in San Francisco. Originally an engineer, he began his career as a sports cartoonist in San Francisco in 1905. He created the syndicated newspaper comic strips, Boob McNutt (1916–33) and Lala Palooza in the 1930s. His most whimsical character was Professor Butts, whose complicated inventions to achieve simple ends—using ropes, pulleys, buckets, and small animals—allowed Goldberg to satirize modern technology; he also gave his own name to the language to describe any complicated device that achieves some simple goal. Hired as a political cartoonist by the New York Sun in 1938, he won a Pulitzer Prize in 1948 for his cartoon, "Peace Today."
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.
References in periodicals archive ?
She's on a Rube Goldberg machine team at Purdue University in Indiana.
The late Rube Goldberg, a Pulitzer Prize winning cartoonist for newspapers in both San Francisco and New York, drew roughly 50,000 cartoons during his career, many depicting zany machines that relied on chain reactions to accomplish some goal, according to Rube Goldberg, Inc., an educational not-for-profit organization formed to further science education through Goldberg's work.
Technology for the sake of technology is a poor strategy because, at a certain point, just like a Rube Goldberg machine, the added complexity just becomes counter-productive.
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