Wednesday, 8 May 2019

something for nothing

In contrast to the way as Rube Goldberg machine came to be a metaphor for an overly elaborate means to achieving a simple goal in America during the interbellum years, in the UK during the Great War a “Heath Robinson Contraption” became synonymous with improvised ingenuity and came out of the “make do and mend” attitude of rationing and austerity.  Both cartoonists studied the rewarding eccentricities of over-complicating tasks but Robinson’s vision was rather genius even if that resided in the sort of engineered clockwork that demanded constant tinkering and adjustment to keep the show going. A particularly cantankerous deciphering machine at Bletchley Park used to decode Nazi Germany radio communications was called “Health Robinson” in his honour. Peruse a whole gallery of Robinson’s artifices at the link up top.