Contest History and Past Tasks

In 1949 a group of young men entered Purdue University. All were engineering students and divided into two rival fraternities, the Phi chapter of Theta Tau and Triangle. As part of their annual Engineers Ball they decided to flex their creative engineering muscles and added an event in which the two fraternities could compete. This was the first RGMC.

This early version of the competition died out four years later when the fraternity brothers graduated. The original travelling trophy made its way into the Theta Tau attic and would stay there for over 30 years. In 1983, while cleaning out the Theta Tau attic, some fraternity members discovered the old trophy, did some research, and soon resurrected the event.

In 1988 the competition began in earnest with the help of Rube Goldberg’s family and since then, it has grown into a national event with live competitions in three divisions and an international presence through the online competitions. Over the past 30 plus years, National RGMC winners have been featured on Late Night talk shows (Johnny Carson, Late Night with David Letterman and Jimmy Kimmel Live) as well as morning shows like NBCs Today Show, CBS This Morning, CBS Sunday Morning, the CBS Evening News, CNN and Good Morning America.

1988: National College RGMC begins!

1996: Division 2 launches for 14-18 year olds

2011: Online competition launches

2015: Division 1 launches for 11-14 year olds

2018: Apprentice Division launches for 8-11 year olds

“Have a great pile of junk and a great imagination!”
Jennifer George, Rube Goldberg’s granddaughter