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A Cultural Icon

Rube Goldberg (1883–1970) was a Pulitzer Prize-winning American cartoonist, inventor, innovator, and the only person whose name is an adjective in Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary.

Rube’s invention cartoons are only a small part of his life’s work, yet they define his career. A Rube Goldberg Machine® solves a simple problem in the most ridiculously inefficient way possible. Their funny functionality invites us to think more deeply about machines and mechanized processes, gadgets and technologies, and the very human ways in which we use them.

With over a billion searches, views, and posts across the Internet for Rube Goldberg, his influence on pop culture is more apparent today than ever before.

Quill and Ink Pot Cartoon

A New Generation of Rube Fans

Rube’s influence on pop culture in the digital age continues to inspire the work of artists, filmmakers, advertisers, builders, and creators. The Institute’s annual competitions reinforce this legacy by inviting even the youngest problem-solvers to Rube with us!

A Rube Goldberg Machine is an intentionally delightful waste of time and energy.

— Jimmy Kimmel