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1940, from the U.S. cartoonist Reuben Lucius Goldberg (1883-1970) who devised fantastically complex gadgetry to accomplish simple tasks. His British counterpart was Heath Robinson (1872-1944).
A much overcomplicated machine or arrangement: The public's got the idea that this is a boondoggle, a Rube Goldberg
[1940+; fr the fancifully articulated machines drawn by the cartoonist Rube Goldberg (1883–1970); the British artist Heath Robinson (1872–1944) amused his public with similar gadgets]