Creative Work

Stories

Rube Goldberg Variations

Rube Goldberg Variations

Ever hear of Rube Goldberg? Even if you haven't, you're probably familiar with his work.

The engineer turned Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist created some of America's most memorable comic strips, including the serialized Bertha and Boob McNutt in the Sunday funnies. A hallmark of Goldberg's work was depicting complicated devices that performed simple tasks in indirect, convoluted ways (think the “breakfast machine” in Pee-Wee's Big Adventure or OK Go's music video for “This Too Shall Pass”). In fact, he's the only person ever to be listed in the Merriam Webster Dictionary as an adjective:

Rube Gold·berg
adjective
NORTH AMERICAN
1. ingeniously or unnecessarily complicated in design or construction.
“a Rube Goldberg machine”

Each fall, Stamps School of Art & Design Professor Michael Rodemer coaches two 3D classes in the creation of their very own Rube Goldberg Machine. While the machine functions as a cohesive whole, pairs of students are responsible for creating a vertical section of the machine.

Right before winter break, the entire Stamps community steps away from their hectic end-of-term projects to behold the final machine in action. With faculty, staff, and students gathered in the hallway, rooting for Rodemer's 3D students, the Rube Goldberg Machine is more than an ingenious spectacle; it's a true Stamps community tradition.

Story by Truly Render. Photos and Video by Nicholas Williams.