A Look at Some Incredible Rube Goldberg Machines

July 1, 2021

Cartoon from Rube Goldberg
Professor Butts and the Self-Operating Napkin (1931) by Rube Goldberg

A Rube Goldberg Machine is a complex machine where one simple task is linked and triggers the start of another simple task in order to complete some final simple function. 

The Rube Goldberg Machine is named after American cartoonist Rube Goldberg who drew cartoons that depicted complex machines that ended up doing a simple thing. His comic strip The Inventions of Professor Lucifer Gorgonzola Butts ran from 1914 to 1964 and depicted these wacky inventions. This type of machine from the strip became known as a Rube Goldberg Machine. Here are seven incredible modern takes on the Rube Goldberg Machine that are beyond impressive.

2D Photography Rube Goldberg Machine

2D Photography is a Canadian company that offers professional video camera rentals, lenses, and accessories. They made an incredible Rube Goldberg machine that had a photography theme in 2011. 

The company had various sponsors and other photography equipment companies that donated supplies, and there were 131 elements in the design. According to their website, three months were spent designing the machine with an additional two months of fabrication. That was followed by a week of filming and editing. The company has made a total of 12 complex Rube Goldberg machines. 

The 3M company made a Rube Goldberg machine in 2015 using a variety of 3M products. According to an article from Good, the machine included 25,000 Post-it Notes, 300 feet of 3M Diamond Grade Reflective Sheeting, 200 pounds of steel, 75 rolls of ScotchBlue Painter’s Tape, a muffler, and many other materials. 3M said that the project took over 1,400 hours to complete.

Red Bull is known for its sponsorship of extreme sports, and they had a little different take on the Rube Goldberg machine by incorporating their athletes in a machine in 2012.

It took a 75 person crew 3,433 hours of work to pull it off using 12 different machines and 45 GoPro cameras.

The title of the world’s largest Rube Goldberg machine goes to a machine that was constructed in Riga, Latvia, on December 2, 2016. Its purpose was to light up a Christmas tree.

The machine consisted of 412 steps and was completed by 26 employees of a Latvian e-commerce company called Scandiweb, along with 23 volunteers.

OK Go is a band from Chicago who are known for their unique music videos. They first garnered fame with their video for the song Here It Goes Again, where they did a dance routine on treadmills.

The band took things to another level for their song This Too Shall Pass in 2010. The music in the video syncs with the movements of their Rube Goldberg machine, and it took four months to shoot in a two-story Los Angeles warehouse.

This machine was done by Youtuber berlagawesome, and according to his description of the video, it was completed in 175 steps in 2016. He states that he spent 140 hours over three months putting the video together, and the soda dispenser failed 114 times before he got it to work.

This 2019 Rube Goldberg machine was made by Sprice Machines and is over eight minutes long. It incorporates a chain reaction that goes through an entire house.

Of course, this is just a tiny sampling of the many incredible Rube Goldberg machines that can be found. I hope you enjoyed the peek.

About the author 

Daniel Ganninger - The writer, editor, and chief lackey of Knowledge Stew, the author of the Knowledge Stew line of great trivia books, and editor of Fact World and the Knowledge Stew sister site on Medium. I hope you find things here to annoy those around you with your new found knowledge.

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