For years, Rube Goldberg machines have commanded attention, but what do we know about the man behind the machine?

Rube Goldberg was born in 1883 in San Francisco. The American legend trained as an engineer, but made his name as a world-famous cartoonist known for his drawings of complex contractions which perform simple jobs. Today, these contraptions are so well known that Rube Goldberg is formally an adjective in the Merriam-Webster Dictionary.

Rube was born only a few decades after the industrial revolution and was heavily inspired by the developing world around him. His machines echo the ethos of the era – man’s hostility towards technology. Over his lifetime, Rube drew more than 50,000 cartoons which went on to capture the imagination of millions. As an engineer his drawings helped transform hostility towards technology, inspiring the Rube Goldberg Machine Contest.

Many Rube Goldberg machines were never built but in 1949, the Rube Goldberg Machine Contest was launched by engineering students at a university in Indiana. As technology developed so did the contests, which took to the world-wide web in 2012. Today, the Rube Goldberg Machine Contest is a household name, presenting the “perfect methodology to inspire young minds in science, technology, engineering and maths – the foundational components of any chain-reaction machine.”

With a little help from the internet, Rube Goldberg machines have captivated the masses with viral attempts in music videos, adverts and even films. Rube Goldberg machines have made technology interesting, bringing the fun that happens behind the scenes to the floor. In tribute to this hero, we’ve created our very own Rube Goldberg machine. Without engineers and technicians, nothing would happen in today’s world. Here’s to the people who get the ball rolling.

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