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Vintage Rube Goldberg Clip Explains Gas Engines

by Paul Strauss

In this classic 1940s clip from General Motors, they enlisted the help of master of contraptions Rube Goldberg to help explain how gasoline powers car engines. In the short film, titled Something for Nothing, Goldberg first shows us how his overly complicated door opener functions, then some other silly inventions before he gets down to business. Then, he discusses the idea of perpetual motion machines.

Ultimately, he’s interrupted by an announcer who explains how fuel is a necessity for powering engines, and mentioning along the way such dated concepts as fossil fuels being “virtually unlimited.” The demonstration of how exploding gasoline causes an engine’s pistons to work is pretty entertaining though.

Also, that self-tipping hat should be on Kickstarter.


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