A twentieth-century American cartoonist and sculptor. He was famous for his humorous diagrams of incredibly intricate machines designed to carry out simple tasks.
A “Rube Goldberg contraption” is a machine with many apparently extraneous parts, which appears to have been designed by patchwork.
The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.