Rube Goldberg was just 48 when his name was listed as an adjective in Merriam-Webster’s, defined as “accomplishing by complex means what seemingly could be done simply.” A new book The Art of Rube Goldberg: (A) Inventive (B) Cartoon (C) Genius, edited by the artist's granddaughter, documents Goldberg’s long career, during which he wrote for the Three Stooges, won a Pulitzer for political cartoons, and created ten of thousands of comics. But the artist was most beloved for his single-panel cartoons of elaborate, overcomplicated contraptions, which sometimes took him up to 30 hours to conceive. (Click on images to expand.)

July 17, 1912

Simple Mosquito Exterminator

“At Least You Can Cut Your Own Hair!” March 8, 1926


 January 26, 1929


October 12, 1929.


September 26, 1931.


June 27, 1931.

"Our Latest Invention." May 14, 1929.

Automatic suicide device

November 16, 1929.

“Special Movie Theatre Getter-Upper” (undated).

Pencil rough for newspaper cartoon (September 5, 1963)

All images © Heirs of Rube Goldberg