Rube Goldberg machines take a lot of time, and the bulk of that time is usually in the set-up of the contraption. For this particular machine, though, it’s probably safe to say that it’s the execution of the machine itself that is the most time-consuming.
Bob Partington teamed up with Field Day to create what they are billing as the world’s slowest Rube Goldberg machine, and we’re not going to challenge them on that assertion. The apparatus uses a bunch of traditionally slow moving elements and processes, like a small boat floating down a river of molasses, a turtle, the melting of several Popsicles, and the literal growing of grass. That’s not a joke to emphasize the slow passage of time: part of this Rube Goldberg machine involves waiting for grass to grow.
All in all, for the Rube Goldberg to complete its functions from start to finish, it took 6 weeks, three days, seven hours and two minutes, or two minutes over 1,087 hours. We’re just thankful that the video above isn’t a live look at the process, but instead a significantly truncated version that shows the passage of time with a clock that adjusts speed as the video speeds up and slows down.
There is also a behind-the-scenes look (that you can watch below) in which Partington details the process of making the video and the machine. It included a specialized hydroponic rig to make the grass grow in a way that would push the ball forward.
Featured image courtesy of Field Day