Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Rube Goldberg's Cartoon Machine Inventions of 1913

About 10 months passed between the production of Rube Goldberg's first and second invention cartoons, from July 17, 1912 (view that cartoon here) to May 7, 1913. As with the first cartoon, Rube's invention solves a minor insect-related problem.

May 7, 1913 - by Rube Goldberg
From this point on, the inventions occur more frequently. Rube's second invention, The Asparagusometer, doesn't actually solve a problem -- it's merely a comic way of eating asparagus.

June 11, 1913 - by Rube Goldberg

Rube's fourth invention cartoon carries a series title: Great Discovery. The typeface matches other series of that year, such as Breaking Even.

Breaking Even and I'm The Guy by Rube Goldberg - September 22, 1913

With the fourth invention, the approach has become more refined, looking more like a precisely drawn patent application drawing. Note that this nonsense invention is not purely mechanical -- it relies on the politeness of a beer bottle...

December 18, 1913 - by Rube Goldberg
The experimental series title suggests that, with the second invention cartoon, Rube had decided he'd like to create these as an ongoing series. One wonders if he realized he would be creating these ingenious cartoons for the next 50 years. This was the only time Rube used this series name. It's a mystery as to why Rube didn't continue the series title (other than that it's a little lame).

In an alternate universe, Rube Goldberg Machines are called "Great Discoveries." I think Rube came out better in our universe.

Coming in November, 2013:

I co-edited this book and contributed three essays on the great cartoonist. Available here from Amazon - a great pre-order deal!

That is all,
Screwball Paul Tumey

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