As you will know if you’ve been reading my columns, I’m a big fan of the steampunk aesthetic. I relish steampunk artifacts spanning a range of sizes from modest mechanisms to mighty machines.

I also like overly complex contraptions such as those captured by British cartoonist and illustrator William Heath Robinson (1872-1944) and his American counterpart Reuben (Rube) Lucius Goldberg (1883-1970). Robinson and Goldberg were both famous for creating illustrations of machines that were intended to perform relatively simple tasks, but whose implementations were incredibly complex such that they performed their tasks in exceedingly convoluted and indirect ways.

Of course, having steampunk with a Heath Robinson / Rube Goldberg twist is the best of all possible worlds. For example, I’ve long had a soft spot for Bruce Rosenbaum’s Grand Garnisher. As we see in this video, the Grand Garnisher involves an 1800s-era steam engine, a 38-foot diesel truck, and a collection of very sharp rotating blades. An elaborate system of pneumatic tubing, interlocking gears, and rotating blades allows this bodacious beauty to slice up to 18 cucumbers per hour to act as garnishes for tipples of Hendrick’s Gin.


The reason I mention this here is that my chum David Ashton, who hangs his hat Down Under in the Unfinished Continent, just sent me to a link to this video of an awesome steampunk-inspired Heineken commercial.


I’m not sure what it is that makes me enjoy this sort of thing so much. Part of it may be the thought of another world hidden behind the facade of the one we know and love, but I also drool over the magnificent mechanical mechanisms.

Just to add a dollop of cream on top of the cake, David also sent me the link to this video. Although this final offering is not strictly steampunk related, it does have a hint of a sniff of the steampunk genre about it.


As David says, one of the great things about these Heineken adverts is the way they make them without anyone talking, which means that they can be used anywhere.

How about you? It would be great if you would care to share links to your favorite Heineken adverts, your favorite Heath Robinson / Rube Goldberg mechanisms, and your favorite steampunk-inspired videos. If you can mix these categories together, so much the better.