ARTIST. INVENTOR. ADJECTIVE.

About Rube Goldberg

Rube Goldberg, Inc. is dedicated to keeping laughter and invention alive through the legacy of its namesake. Annual competitions, image licensing, merchandising, and museum and entertainment opportunities continue to grow and enhance the brand. At the helm is Rube’s granddaughter, Jennifer George, whose best-selling book on her grandfather, The Art of Rube Goldberg, is now in its fourth printing.

RGI is a not-for-profit 501(c)3 dedicated to promoting STEM & STEAM education for students of all ages.

Who was Rube Goldberg?

Rube Goldberg (1883-1970) was a Pulitzer Prize winning cartoonist best known for his zany invention cartoons. He was born in San Francisco on the 4th of July, 1883 – and graduated from U. Cal Berkeley with a degree in engineering. His first job at the San Francisco Chronicle led to early success, but it wasn’t until he moved to NYC and began working for Hearst publications that he became a household name. Rube Goldberg is the only person ever to be listed in the Merriam Webster Dictionary as an adjective. It’s estimated that he did a staggering 50,000 cartoons in his lifetime.

 

DEFINITION OF RUBE GOLDBERG:

:accomplishing by complex means what seemingly could be done simply
a kind of Rube Goldberg contraption … with five hundred moving parts —L. T. Grant
; also :characterized by such complex means

Inventions

“Rube Goldberg knew how to get from “A” to “B” using every letter in the alphabet.”
— Art Spiegelman

“A Rube Goldberg Machine is an intentionally delightful waste of time and energy.”
— Jimmy Kimmel

“No matter how thin you slice it, it’s still boloney.”
— Rube Goldberg

Rube Goldberg’s training as an engineer informed every aspect of his work as a cartoonist.  From a group of women in The Weekly Meeting of the Tuesday Ladies’ Club touring a pretzel factory and gazing in awe as a marvelously elaborate machine churns out pretzels, to a one-man band in Lala Palooza, to the charming and imaginative contraption animals in Boob McNutt’s ark, Rube’s mechanical mind can be seen throughout his entire life’s work.  But at the dawn of the industrial revolution, when modern appliances, gizmos, and gadgets were primed to change our lives for the better, Rube’s work struck a nerve with the American public as he cast his satirical eye on the machine age.

The inventions that made Rube Goldberg a household name were those attributed to his alter-ego, Professor Lucifer Gorgonzola Butts.  They were rendered in the exact style of US Patent applications with each transfer of energy annotated by a letter so that the reader could follow the chain reaction sequence. Rube’s inventions were designed to work, but drawn for laughs.  He set every day objects in motion, along with anthropomorphic animals, bugs and birds, and an array of oddly distinguished humans to complete the task at hand.



        

Comic strips, cartoons and animations

Rube Goldberg may be a household name, but most people don’t think of him as a comic strip author — and yet his work is inexorably linked to the American comic strip from its earliest years through the golden age of newspaper comics.

Some of Rube’s most celebrated comic strips are represented here in the gallery — from early work like Foolish Questions, Mike & Ike They Look Alike, and The Weekly Meeting of the Tuesday Ladies’ Club, to Boob McNutt, Bobo Baxter, and Lala Palooza.  For a comprehensive list and chronology of Rube’s comic strips and cartoons, click HERE.

 

Rube draws a perpetual motion machine in this 1940. commercial.
Rube draws a perpetual motion machine in this 1940. commercial.

Articles

For more on the life and work of Rube Goldberg, click on the articles below.

Rube draws a perpetual motion machine in this 1940. commercial.
Rare footage from a 1924 Pathe newsreel of Rube drawing animation for his sons, Thomas and George.