The Press: Death of a Master Machinist

Regardless of fame, few people find their names enshrined in Webster's Dictionary as an adjective for a method or contraption. Rube Goldberg, who died in New York last week of cancer at 87, saw his name entered in Webster's: a rube goldberg contrivance, says the Third New International edition, accomplishes "by extremely complex roundabout means what actually or seemingly could be done simply."

Cartoonist Goldberg achieved fame for a series of wildly complicated inventions that today can be seen as a prediction of the world's foundering in technology. Goldberg's contraptions used owls and...

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