World’s Largest 300-Step Rube Goldberg Machine Designed At Purdue University

By: | July 23rd, 2013

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The World’s Largest “Rube Goldberg” Machine was recently designed and built at Purdue University but what is a Rube Goldberg machine?

The Rube Goldberg Institute is a clearinghouse for information on the history of the individual and the machines named after him. Yearly competitions in his name introduce each new crop of would-be engineers to the principles of physics, gravity, friction, etc. in a fun and exciting context.

No lesser a scientific publication than Scientific American has, as recently as June, 2013, wrote an exposé on Rube Goldberg machines that sort recyclables: there is just no better way to describe it. Readers of Mad Magazine through the years were exposed to many Rube Goldberg inspired illustrations.

What It Is

Webster’s New World dictionary, in fact, defines “Rube Goldberg” as a comically involved, complicated invention, laboriously contrived to perform a simple operation.” To have lived is to have seen some of the best Rube Goldberg machines. Goldberg never built one of his machines, but he was the first to illustrate them through copiously labeled schematics of inventions and contraptions created by Professor Lucifer Gorgonzola Butts.

A History Of The Man

Rube Goldberg was born in San Francisco, California on July 4,1883. Perhaps it was the fireworks of Independence Day that subtly influenced Goldberg’s psyche in his “gentle madness”. But Goldberg was a multi talented individual who, in addition to being an engineer was a sculptor, founding member of the National Cartoonists Society and news reporter.

David Schilling

David lives in the North End of Boston, Massachusetts, and regularly visits MIT, Harvard, Boston University, Northeastern, Boston\’s leading companies and labs, the stacks at Boston Atheneaum and Boston Public Library to uncover and research story ideas. You can also find David on Google+.

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