A Useful Machine


Having grown up on Rube Goldberg cartoons in Saturdays’ Funny Pages, I love wacky devices that use long and overly complex techniques to perform mundane tasks. I also admire the talent and skill of individuals who are able to create these machines.

For Wednesday Humour this week, let me introduce you to The Page Turner. This machine is the creation of artist Joseph Herscher (the deeply involved newspaper reader in the video). Born in New Zealand and now residing in Brooklyn, New York, Herscher built his first Rube Goldberg devise four years ago in Auckland, New Zealand.

The Page Turner makes use of a black powder fuse, billiard balls, a gas burner, a hamster, and a lot of gravity to achieve its task!

If you’d like to know more about this crazy machine or Joseph Herscher, please read this New York Times article, Who Says Machines Must Be Useful?

Got the skills or imagination to build one of these contraptions? There are Rube Goldberg Machine contests held every year. Participants need to be High School or College students. To learn more, visit the Machine Contests page on the Rube Goldberg website.

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