Art: W. Heath Robinson

Britain mourned last week one of its best-loved comic artists. He was William Heath Robinson, England's Rube Goldberg, whose drawings of outrageously improbable contraptions have tickled his countrymen for 30 years. Bespectacled, mustached, 72 -year-old Robinson died of heart disease at his London home.

Robinson's first published cartoon was a drawing of a professor gravely examining birds' footprints in the sand, while a fascinated bird followed the strange human track. He produced a mad catalogue of patched-together devices constructed on such engineering principles as this: "The strength of a piece of string, as of a chain, lies in its weakest part,...

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