Sunday, June 8, 2014

Heath Robinson’s Contraptions

"The Professor's invention for peeling potatoes." by William Heath Robinson
William Heath Robinson (31 May 1872 – 13 September 1944) was an English cartoonist and illustrator best known for drawings of ridiculously complicated machines for achieving simple objectives.

In the UK, the term "Heath Robinson" entered the language during WWI as a description of any unnecessarily complex and implausible contrivance, much as "Rube Goldberg machines" came to be used in the U.S. for similar absurdities. "Heath Robinson contraption" is perhaps more often used in relation to temporary fixes using ingenuity and whatever is to hand, often string and tape, or unlikely cannibalizations. 

"An Early Attempt To Split The Atom," by William Heath Robinson
When we horsepeople talk about fixing things with spit and bailing twine, we are speaking of the same thing, a temporary fix using ingenuity to “make it work.”

There is something endlessly fascinating about creating impossible machines. Here is one of my own “Heath Robinson” contraptions for the comic “Horse Life.”
"Horse Life" comic, by Sara Light-Waller

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