American cartoonist (1883-1970). Born in San Francisco, his father insisted that he become an engineer. After graduating from the University of California with an engineering degree, he went to work as an engineer for San Francisco's Water and Sewers Department. He was finally able to convince his father that he needed to work as an artist, and he began submitting cartoons to a San Francisco newspaper. When his cartoons were published, they were extremely successful, and he was able to move to New York City, where he drew daily cartoons for the New York Evening Mail.

Goldberg's Pulitzer-winning cartoons featured fanciful and absurdly complex homemade inventions that performed very simple tasks. For example, a Rube Goldberg cartoon depicting a garage door opener could begin with a car bumper knocking a bowling ball off of a table. The bowling ball would land on a bellows, shooting a pin from the bellows into a balloon. The popping balloon would startle a chicken in her nest, causing her to lay an egg, which would roll down a chute and land in a small basket, providing a counterweight which triggered a series of pulleys, which caused a large boot to stomp on a tethered cat's tail. Yowling, the cat would begin running on a stationary treadmill, turning a crank that pulled the garage door open. Voila!

Creations based on Goldberg's ideas have been seen in everything from TV shows and movies to art projects to board games (like the goofy game "Mousetrap"). Last time I checked, Purdue University sponsored an annual Rube Goldberg Machine contest, which challenges participants to create their own versions of Goldberg's funny inventions.

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