Talk:W. Heath Robinson

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Usage of Health Robinson (not a Rube Goldberg machine)[edit]

Heath Robinson has always been a phrase I've always associated with repair or quickly assembled jobs to fulfil an urgent purpose. It does undoubtedly come from the culture of Britain especially in the 1930s and 1940s of needing to fix things quickly in the absence of the proper tools or parts to do so. Especially in the kind of ways that would be recognised by mechanics in the armed forces.

I would argue it has a different meaning to a Rube Goldberg machine, which is a very elaborately constructed machine for the simplest of purposes. A Heath Robinson machine maybe strangely constructed but has been done so for a real and immediate purpose out of what was to hand at the time.

I'm prepared to believe that Heath Robinson and Rube Goldberg cartoons may be very similar but I think the meaning is different on the different sides of the Atlantic. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:56, 4 November 2011 (UTC)


To whoever is "managing" this page, may I suggest a link to the "Heath Robinson Rube Goldberg (HRRG) Mixed Technology Computer" project at The idea is to create a computer out of a mixture of implementation technologies, including relays, vacuum tubes, transistors, simple integrated circuits, pneumatic logic, magnetic logic, and so forth. I think both Heath Robinson and Rube Goldberg would really appreciate this project.

What is "Hans Anderson"? Did he illustrate Hans Christian Andersen's Tales?

This article could use a better summary at the top. "Heath Robinson" is common english slang with the same meaning as "rube goldberg" in America, but the comparison doesn't appear until near the end of the article. Night Gyr 09:59, 20 November 2005 (UTC)

>>How come there is not even one of his cartoons shown in this article? The whole point of the article is lost.

>>>The problem is simply, that his works are not yet public domain. Since this takes the authors death plus 70 years, copyright for many works are still held by his family, respectively by Pollinger Limited (authors agents) of London on behalf of the W. Heath Robinson Estate --Calixus (talk) 13:24, 26 January 2011 (UTC)

I think this page could also do with a link to Emett Danensis (talk) 15:13, 13 February 2012 (UTC)

Professor Branestawm[edit]

Should there be a mention in the article that he illustrated The Incredible Adventures of Professor Branestawm, first published in 1933 and the sequel, Professor Branestawm's Treasure Hunt, published 1937? WLD 12:40, 9 October 2006 (UTC)

Heath Robinson machines[edit]

I saw some Heath Robinson machines in the UK in the early 1960s. They were large and very elaborate things. I do not know who made them, since Heath Robinson died in the 40s, it says.

You've probably seen the Rowland Emmet models, as featured in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (film) for example, the breakfast machine. Hmm, no entry for Rowland in Wiki yet. Spenny 22:53, 11 July 2007 (UTC)

Popular culture[edit]

Is it just me, or does this section seem odd? If we're going to cite examples of the use of "Heath Robinson" to mean an amusingly complicated/unwieldy/rickety contraption, then there should be more than one example. Otherwise it just seems as if some unusual importance is attached to the BBC's Planet Earth series, which whilst an excellent series, is hardly the only use of the term in popular culture. To my mind, the section isn't necessary at all, for the same reason that you wouldn't expect to find a dictionary listing pop. cultural uses of the word "rickety". Ajhoughton 14:42, 23 July 2007 (UTC)

You are right, the section is a little odd. In part it is a generational thing. I think 20 years ago in the UK, the term would be well understood. I think time is moving on and though it has not died out, I suspect that as a forty something year old myself. The section needs to explain that the term was in general use and we then have a specific example. Spenny 14:57, 23 July 2007 (UTC)
I am 32, and use the term from time to time. Mind you, I grew up with Professor Branestawm books, which might have something to do with that. Most of my friends of similar age understand the term, though maybe my friends are eccentric! (talk) 01:54, 24 November 2007 (UTC) A similar character , that could fall into this category, described as "Australia's own Thomas Edison", who's work (actual constucted gadgets)was showcased in South Australia recently is known as Henry Hoke. One of his (book?) titles is Guide to the Misguided: Institute of Backyard Studies.( that title maybe even an obscure nod to The Guide to the Perplexed?) SignedJohnsonL623 (talk) 00:22, 16 July 2011 (UTC)

Obit The Times[edit]

The Times, Thursday, Sep 14, 1944; Issue 49957/2; pg. 7; col F

    Mr. Heath Robinson Humorous Artist

(just in case someone wants the detail) billinghurst sDrewth 17:18, 30 May 2010 (UTC)


Is it possible that more illustrations/comics are in the public domain? This seems like an article that would really be enhanced by additional examples of this artist's work. Liz Read! Talk! 23:52, 7 September 2013 (UTC)