It’s Complicated


He was so good at imagining overly complicated and outlandish contraptions that his name became part of the English dictionary in the early 20th century to describe anything with an unnecessarily elaborate design. “That’s a real Heath-Robinson!”

That’s right. Before those Rube Goldberg Contraptions there were Heath Robinson Contraptions.

Messy Nessy gives background and examples.



One thought on “It’s Complicated

  1. One nitpick: it’s not so much that Heath Robinson was “before” Rube Goldberg, though Robinson was about a decade older than Goldberg.

    It’s that Robinson was the UK expression of the same impulse, and Goldberg was the US version.

    Their careers were fairly parallel, running at about the same time. Both started their cartooning careers in the teens: Robinson specialized in wacky inventions earlier and more deeply (especially during The Great War), while Goldberg had a dizzying array of newspaper strips over a longer career, including but not limited to the famous devices.

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