A collection of Rube Goldberg machines, perpetual motion machines, and other strange and wonderful contraptions for your enjoyment.

There is a small gallery of Rube Goldberg's cartoons at his official site. You can also check out his Wikipedia entry. This is all news to me...I never knew he was a cartoonist, I thought he was famous for actually constructing these elaborate machines. But that task is left to others.

If you haven't yet seen "The Cog", the 2003 Honda Accord ad featuring an incredibly complex Rube Goldberg machine assembled entirely out of Accord parts, you must take the opportunity to do so now. Costing millions to produce, and requiring over 600 takes, the spot uses no cgi -- the entire setup is real, and had to be rebuilt every time something went wrong. More details on the ad can be found on Snopes.com. It's absolutely unbelievable.

ClikClak is a short film in French (an English version is also available) in which a pair of robots teach a human boy to speak in a language of sound effects, which they produce by rigging up elaborate Goldberg machines. Ultimately the boy, required to interact with the robots on their terms, is unable to contain his intrinsic humanness and things end badly, proving that there is no extended rapport possible between man and machine in the end -- well, that's the lesson I got out of it anyway, though the film is much lighter-hearted than I. Very nicely animated, go see it.

The Blue Ball Machine is a really cool animated gif of a machine through which innumerable blue balls are shuffled and sorted -- even better, it tiles seamlessly, creating one giant, infinite, perpetual motion machine. Mesmerizing to watch.

The Modern Compendium of Miniature Automata is "a practical treatise on the relation of impulsive forces on microscopic machines being a supplementary volume to Applebee's Cyclopedia of Applied Mechanics." What it is really is a beautifully designed flash site showing off delicate, ethereal animations of ornate, insectile machines. Even better, you can generate random automata, or swap parts to create your own beast.

These next two are reposts, but so appropriate. Animusic is a set of animated music videos created with a set of elaborate computer-generated music machines. While the site is geared toward selling dvds, there are several video clips available to view. It's pretty incredible.

There's also La Pâte à Son, where you can build your own music machine out of pipes, attachments, and a lot of colorful beans.
That makes the third time posting this one. If only it didn't seem to demand to be included in so many categories...

UPDATE: Alert reader xezzy has pointed out the existence of Incredible Machines, a stunning series of clips of Goldberg machines in action. I'm not sure what or why they are -- maybe a series of Japanese commercials? Ingenious machines, though, wonderfully constructed. Neat!

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Blogger Adam Cadre:

You can never post La Pâte à Son too many times.

Blogger bluewyvern:

Ah, good. I was worried.

Blogger Adam Cadre:

Wow, this was a great batch. The Blue Ball Machine is indeed hypnotic, and the Clik Clak movie was wonderful - even moving, in a strange way.

Anonymous Weien:

Ah, you're my hero. The Cog and ClikClak; definitely things I'll pass on. Oh, and especially AnimMusic--the other day I had "PipeDream" in my head, from seeing it years ago at a computer store. But having forgotten what it was called, for a while I thought (i.e. despaired) that I'd never see it again. But, boring story aside, a big thanks for brightening my day! ^_^

Blogger maikopunk:

The Cog was amazing to watch. I love Snopes.com too. I watched the Blue Ball Machine (nice name), and my favourite thing about it is the music from Pee-Wee's big adventure.

Blogger mernitman:

thank you for click clack!
i did the same sort of goldberg/cog connection post (see "perfection") but yours is six times the fun...

Anonymous Xezzy:

Guys, you should check that out. Its absolutly amazing. Wyvern, add it to your new post ;)

Blogger bluewyvern:

Cool! Thanks for the link!

Anonymous moon:

I've passed long moments of enjoyment last night over here, so many thing to see and read, you're a real genuine web traveller :)

Anonymous moon:

loved the Goldbergesque comics collection!

always a pleasure to stop by in here :)

Anonymous LadySusan:

Have you read this essay?
I'll pretend it's relevant because it compares the English language to a Rube Goldberg device. I bet you'll find it generally interesting.

Blogger bluewyvern:

Hey, very cool. Thanks for the link.

And so relevant! ;)

Blogger travelsbylight:

I've never heard of R.G. but I have always admired Heath Robinson (see links below). The Honda ad. was truly great.

More on H.R.
H.R.on Victorian Web
H.R. Machine 1
H.R. Machine 2
H.R. Machine 3
H.R. Machine 4

Nice one!

Blogger bluewyvern:

I can't believe I'd never heard of Heath Robinson before. Thanks for the introduction!

I should make a post sometime about fairy tale illustrators...

Anonymous Cog:

Great post -- and proved by the number of additions people have suggested to the list. Glad to see the Lycette's miniature automata here too. Although I DID have things I was meant to bee doing tonight -- and now I've spent the entirety playing...

Anonymous Anonymous:

I'm really enjoying your blog - found via a Samarost link or something. As well as Goldberg you should check out Heath Robinson.


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