Talk:Rube Goldberg machine

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Maybe this article should say what the Rube Goldberg machine was meant to do, wheather or not it did it and how it did it. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:53, 13 November 2007 (UTC)


I would very much like to see an example of his comic art depicting a machine. 1930 has to be outside of the copyright dates. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:52, 5 October 2009 (UTC)

Anything copyrighted in the US prior to 1978 is likely to be covered for a period of 95 years. So much for 1930 being "outside the dates"--SEWalk (talk) 09:17, 28 November 2009 (UTC)


The name of the Rube Goldberg Machine is a Rube Goldberg Machine itself! (as well as all the other names in the world) They are lengthy and overly-complicated names for a simple concept. Maybe "mouse trap" would be better, based on the children's game that exploits this concept as well as the old saying, " a better mouse trap". Or even RGM. Mingramh (talk) 18:54, 23 January 2008 (UTC)

I've always heard of one of these as being called a Rube Goldberg Device as opposed to Machine. Googling "Rube Goldberg Device" reveals numerous hits. I don't have a dog in the fight, much less one attached to a pulley mechanism, but you might want to acknowledge this. IvyGold (talk) 23:28, 7 April 2008 (UTC)

Too many pop culture references[edit]

There were far too many examples of these devices in pop culture, and not enough about the expression or its place in society. I beefed up the latter, and substantially cut down the former; examples are useful to illustrate, but the page lost sight of the topic. Major Bloodnok 14:30, 26 November 2006 (UTC)

Since the very concept originates from cartoons, I think popculture references are quite appropriate. At the very least, I think the deleted reference to The Incredible Machine games should be put back, since they are the most notable of all "Rube Goldberg machine" games. I would replace the obscure "Half-Life 2 mod" reference with TIM. (Note that the Garry's Mod article only briefly mentions this concept.) Muad 14:24, 27 November 2006 (UTC)
Pop culture refs are appropriate, I agree, but there were far too many of them, and the page had degenerated into a list of seemingly every occasion where a fantastical machine has occured. I felt that one could get a better understanding of the topic with fewer examples. As to Garry's mod, it may be a less appropriate example than the Incredible Machine, but I must admit not to knowing anything about the latter. By all means change the text if you feel it would benefit. Major Bloodnok 21:20, 27 November 2006 (UTC)
To me it seems like the reason this page was created in the first place was to group all the Rube Goldberg machines on Wikipedia together, allowing navigating from one to the other by means of this page.-- 23:20, 15 July 2007 (UTC)
It is also absurd to suggest that Professor Branestawm has "Rube Goldberg machines", when in fact they are Heath Robinson devices - which predate Goldberg by about 20 years. Why, Branestawm is even illustrated by Heath Robinson himself! I am going to delete that item at once. 19:29, 25 September 2007 (UTC)
Just going to chime in here and add that the pop culture list is ridiculous. I don't know the WP rules like some people but there's no way this incredibly pointless and off-topic list meets them. A "reference" to a Rube Goldberg machine would be when some pop culture item actually makes obvious that the machine in question was influenced by Rube. Just because there are complicated plots in a cartoon show doesn't somehow qualify it as reference. If there are no objections, I've made a mental note to clean that list out sometime soon. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Dynamic1 (talkcontribs) 01:36, 6 February 2008 (UTC) 23 23 2 3 23 2 32s3 dfasfsalfjasfjasdh as fosho

The opening scene of "Back to the Future" needs to be listed. Seriously. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:33, 4 May 2010 (UTC)

Just watched that scene. It contains several unconnected machines and robot like devices that perform simple tasks. As they are all on timers, it appears that it is one continuous machine, but it is not. Most consists of simple switches and levers, the robotic dog-food arm is the most complicated, but not overly so. Due to the fact that it is not overly engineered or complicated, I would vote to keep "Back to the Future" out of the pop-culture references. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:58, 6 June 2010 (UTC)

Having the opinion that there are "too many pop culture references" is no reason to delete them at random to shorten the list. Anyone who deletes examples should state why he/she deleted those particular examples instead of others. For example, I added the movie "Delicatessen" because Rube Goldberg machines are 1) a signature feature of the director, and 2) a major topic of the movie rather than a casual reference. The entire movie resembles a cinematographic Rube Goldberg machine, unlike many other movies in which RG machines only play a minor role. -RS

Influence of Patents[edit]

Viewing the sample Rube Goldberg cartoons shown in the reference [1] I'm reminded of the content of United States patents. The ink-on-board drawing style and textual descriptions mirror the style formalized by the U.S. Patent Office. View the actual patent linked here [2] for obvious similarities.

The similarity could be accidental or intentional. According to the biography at [3] Rube took training as an engineer and called his drawings, "Inventions." Are there any quotes or commentaries that explore this connection, or indicate that it is intentional?

Dclo 18:33, 4 December 2006 (UTC)

Didn't many of Max Fliescher's cartoons from the 1920s contain simillar complicated machines?ik


Someone blanked the page. I couldn't see any valid reason why, so I've reverted the page and added the above unsigned comment.

There are far _too_ many Pop Culture refs. As per a previous comment, these are appropriate to this concept, but too many reduces the impact of the page. Can I suggest a separate page - perhaps a list of pop culture refs connected with RGM? On the other hand, given that RGM is such a loose concept, the potential list is endless. What does the community think?Major Bloodnok 18:23, 4 May 2007 (UTC)

This page needs shortening[edit]

Still too many Pop Culture references. This page falls foul of [WP:TRIV] in that the list is disorganised and unfocused. Wikipedia is not a place for such a list, accepting that the concept of the Rube Goldberg machine is rooted in pop culture. There is a good argument for having a small number of examples of RGMs in the wider world, but this page is not the place for a comprehensive "laundry list". I'll have a go at it when I get a chance. Major Bloodnok 08:51, 22 August 2007 (UTC)


Whenever a Rube Goldberg device is used by name or as a breakfast machine (which seems to be the popular use) in a movie or television show, it is accompanied by the same piece of music. Could someone identify it? It was used in the mythbusters episode.

Perhaps the Goldberg Variations by J. S. Bach. I can't confirm this, I haven't seen the mythbusters episode. The same reference might be on the X Files episode menctioned earlier on the article. Ggenellina (talk) 05:30, 26 February 2008 (UTC)

"Expanded" meaning[edit]

The lead paragraph concludes:

Since then, the expression's meaning has expanded to denote any form of overly confusing or complicated system. For example, recent news headlines include "Is Rep. Bill Thomas the Rube Goldberg of Legislative Reform?", and "Retirement 'insurance' as a Rube Goldberg machine". It has been argued that fissioning uranium to boil water under tremendous temperature and pressure renders nuclear power a Rube Goldberg machine.

Now the first sentence may be true. However, the subsequent references are actual uses of the phrase -- and all of them are examples of the phrase being used as a rhetorical epithet. The first is digging into a politician, the second into a specific policy, and the third is some kind of weird rant against nuclear power. Putting this all together, I get the impression the above is an example of original research, since it seems to be attempting to prove the claim made in the first sentence, not demonstrate it via citation to an external argument. I feel it needs to be edited accordingly, but perhaps I'm just strange! mdf (talk) 23:44, 26 February 2008 (UTC)

I generally agree with mdf. The examples provided are all cases of the term being used pejoratively, and intentionally or not seem to show a negative POV towards Bill Thomas, retirement insurance, and nuclear power. Also, sources 2 and 4 are from blogs, which may strain self published sources. I find myself asking, given that the term is generally used negatively, if it is possible to reference this expanded meaning without inherently criticizing the subject of any examples. The definition in the same paragraph, "accomplishing by extremely complex roundabout means what actually or seemingly could be done simply" is broad enough to cover organizations and systems, not just machines. Is a section on this meaning and examples necessary? Scj2315 (talk) 09:05, 6 April 2008 (UTC)
I must admit to having re-written the lead a while ago. Someone else has added the Nuclear power reference. I put in the first two examples of usage in an attempt to demonstrate how the term is used, and I felt that the examples backed up the statement in the first sentence. I didn't think this was original research, but maybe it does fall foul of that (I don't have any good reference works which could be cited instead). I think an explanation of RGD in language is valid, but maybe there are better ways of putting it. From what searching around I have done, it seemed that the whole concept of a RGD has gone beyond its original meaning, to encompass (as Scj2315 put it), "organisations and systems, not just machines". I think that this idea does need mentioning, but I'm not sure that it is important enough to warrant a page to itself. Using a pop culture reference as an easily understood metaphor is interesting, but RGD is only one US-based expression among many international ones.
I'm currently thinking that any discussion of RGD as a grammatical expression should be limited to the Rube Goldberg page, and this page deleted; it has become a pointless list of pop culture references. Maybe within the grammar section of WP there is an area for discussion of this kind of epithet. I don't really think this page has much point. What does the community think? Major Bloodnok (talk) 10:38, 27 April 2008 (UTC)

Pop culture[edit]

I have removed the pointless list of entirely unreferenced pop culture references, in accordance with WP:BOLD. Wikipedia is many things, but it is not an indiscriminate collection of information. Such lists are inappropriate for Wikipedia. Major Bloodnok (talk) 20:28, 22 September 2008 (UTC)

Garry's Mod[edit]

While that's all very nice and interesting, the reference used is a link to a Garry's Mod wiki. Anyone see a problem with that?  Aar  ►  02:55, 23 October 2009 (UTC)

Noble Laurette Mathematician required - whoops, they don't "do" mathematics, is that right![edit]

"Reuben died in 1970 at the age of 87, while his widow, Irma, died 20 years later at the age of 95.[4]"

The addition and subtraction leave a lot to be desired but my teachers always taught me that, for example, adding 20 to 87 would result in a total of 107, a ripe old age. Conversely, p'haps she died only 8 years later. I'm unwilling to edit this as there are too many permutations [all you non-mathematicians - look it up! I did but then I know I'm not as clever as you'all!] but the original writer should research and correct this blatant mistake... —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:24, 23 October 2009 (UTC)

For one thing, you're referring to something on the page for Rube Goldeberg, not this page, which is about his machines. As for the alleged mathematical error, Mr. Goldberg died in 1970 and Mrs. Goldeberg died in 1990. What permutations would make this anything other than 20 years later? I think you're confused.--SEWalk (talk) 16:24, 3 November 2009 (UTC)

Little Rascals[edit]

The movie-shorts featuring The Little Rascals (1930s) occasionally depicted Rube Goldberg machines, and were perhaps the first 'pop culture' examples of such devices filmed. Strange that this should have been omitted from the article, as the successful examples set forth by the Little Rascals were likely the precedent for all subsequent uses in film. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:06, 14 August 2011 (UTC)

Google Play[edit]

Is this a Rube Goldberg Machine?

Google Play Video Ad

Avkrules (talk) 04:07, 7 March 2012 (UTC)

chain reaction[edit]

Why does the artcle say "usually including a chain reaction"? A Rube Goldberg machine does not work without some sort of chain reaction! Thats the point of the machine. So please delete "usually" (or show some source of a Rube Goldberg machine without any sort of chain reaction). -- (talk) 13:35, 25 April 2012 (UTC)

About Mr. Goldberg[edit]

I think it is a nice anecdote that Mr. Goldberg sketched about 50 thousand machine, but has never built one for real. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 08:22, 18 June 2012 (UTC)


This article appears to be about the concept of an overly engineered fictitious machine, rather than the specific machine of any one of the authors. In which case, the authors should have more equal treatment, and the article renamed to something neutral. Widefox (talk) 15:10, 28 July 2012 (UTC)

Assembly Line vs Rube Goldberg machine[edit]

Edward Scissorhands (1990) — the Inventor, Edward's "father" (Vincent Price), looks on as puppet-like robots prepare cookies. He then takes a heart shaped cookie and holds it to the hollow chest of his lifeless anthropomorphic creation, inspiring him to create the creature Edward Scissorhands.

That was showing an assembly line making cookies and wouldn't qualify as a Rube Goldberg machine (it uses constant power, it's end result is a bunch of cookies, stuff happens external to the starting events, ect). (talk) 10:44, 3 November 2012 (UTC)

Improper Capitals in Titles[edit]

"Capitalize... The first, last, and important words in a title."

Is there a way to change the title, so it is properly capitalized? Kude90 (talk) 23:03, 12 January 2013 (UTC)

NO. It already is "properly capitalised". Your quoted "rule" does not apply to Wikipedia, where house style is to capitalise proper nouns only. See MOS:HEAD: "headings are in sentence case, not title case". Dave.Dunford (talk) 07:07, 24 August 2013 (UTC)