William Heath Robinson (31 May 1872 – 13 September 1944) was an English cartoonist, illustrator and artist, best known for drawings of whimsically elaborate machines to achieve simple objectives.
In the UK, the term "Heath Robinson contraption" gained dictionary recognition as a noun around 1912, and entered the Oxford English Dictionary in 1917. It became part of popular language during the 1914–1918 First World War as a description of any unnecessarily complex and implausible contrivance. Other cartoonists drew on similar themes; by 1928 the American Rube Goldberg was known for "Rube Goldberg machines" in the United States. A "Heath Robinson contraption" is perhaps most commonly used in relation to temporary fixes using ingenuity and whatever is to hand, often string and tape, or unlikely cannibalisations. Its continuing popularity was undoubtedly linked to Britain's shortages during the Second World War and the need to "make do and mend" .
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