The works which would lead to his lasting fame involved a character named Professor Lucifer Gorgonzola Butts. In this series, Goldberg drew labeled schematics of the comical “inventions” which would later bear his name. In 1995, “Rube Goldberg’s Inventions,” depicting Professor Butts’ “Self-Operating Napkin,” was one of 20 strips included in the Comic Strip Classics series of commemorative US postage stamps.
The “Self-Operating Napkin” is activated when the soup spoon (A) is raised to mouth, pulling string (B) and thereby jerking ladle (C) which throws cracker (D) past parrot (E). Parrot jumps after cracker and perch (F) tilts, upsetting seeds (G) into pail (H). Extra weight in pail pulls cord (I), which opens and lights automatic cigar lighter (J), setting off skyrocket (K) which causes sickle (L) to cut string (M) and allow pendulum with attached napkin to swing back and forth, thereby wiping chin. After-dinner entertainment can be supplied with the simple substitution of a harmonica for the napkin.