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Heath Robinson A proper name applied to ingenious but overly complicated and impractical mechanical contraptions. Heath Robinson (1872-1944) was a British caricaturist whose name became associated with his popular drawings of complicated mechanisms made out of every imaginable piece of junk and held together by the most unconventional means. This British phrase is most often used adjectivally and is similar to the American Rube Goldberg.
This “Heath-Robinson” jumble of wooden sheds, sluices, and water troughs looks ridiculous, yet it works all right. (Discovery, November, 1934)
Rube Goldberg Any mechanical contrivance which is unnecessarily complex and impractical; used adjectivally, makeshift or improvised, jerry-built. Reuben Goldberg was an American cartoonist born in the late 19th century. His name evokes images of cartoons depicting ridiculously complex mechanical contrivances, and is used in referring to elaborate but ineffective repair work, inventions, etc. A “Rube Goldberg job” looks impressive but is unreliable.
|Noun||1.||contraption - a device or control that is very useful for a particular job|
device - an instrumentality invented for a particular purpose; "the device is small enough to wear on your wrist"; "a device intended to conserve water"
gadgetry - appliances collectively; "laborsaving gadgetry"
gimbal - an appliance that allows an object (such as a ship's compass) to remain horizontal even as its support tips
injector - a contrivance for injecting (e.g., water into the boiler of a steam engine or particles into an accelerator etc.)
mod con - modern convenience; the appliances and conveniences characteristic of a modern house