Yesterday's post about the Corkscrew contraption by Rob Higgs made mention of one of the Masters of the Contraption. While in the U.S. we may think of Rube Goldberg and his elaborate chain-reaction machines, in the U.K. they might be more inclined to think of Heath Robinson (1872 -1944). Robinson was an English cartoonist known for his drawings of improbable machines. Like Goldberg, his very name has become synonymous with quirky, ugly, improvised, silly, and overly-complex machines.
From a review of the book:
Robinson's elementary mechanical world is brilliant and arcane--those ancient wooden cogwheels, intricate pulleys, fragile gantries, ingenious tunnels, magnets, and steam kettles kept on boil by a lighted candle or two; the whole enterprise held together by knotted string and operated by intensely serious workmen with a sprinkling of soberly top-hatted company directors in charge.
Here is a link to the book featuring Heath Robinson's drawings titled Heath Robinson Contraptions.