+0
I'm watching the DVDs of "Planet Earth," narrated by David Attenborough. For each of the two episodes I've watched, in the "behind-the-scenes" part about how the documentary was filmed, he has referred to some process or equipment as being "a Heath Robinson affair." From the context it seems to mean a mechanical solution cobbled together from available parts. I'd like to know the origin of this phrase, and whether I interpreted it correctly. Thanks!

(I'm so glad I waited for the DVDs rather than watching the American broadcast of these programs, in which the voice of David Attenborough was replaced by that of Sigourney Weaver!)
+0

I think a Heath Robinson contraption is still understood - I heard it used the other day in a shop.

For those who have never seen one, here's a good example.

+0
Great! I learnd about something brand new today. Thanks all!
Teachers: We supply a list of EFL job vacancies
Comments  
Hi Khoff,

As an idiom, I think this is not in use any more. It sounds very old-fashioned.

Check this link. http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/historic_figures/robinson_william_heath.shtml

Here's a brief extract from it.

Best wishes, Clive.


William Heath Robinson (1872 - 1944)




28th December 1929: Artist and cartoonist William Heath Robinson ©

Robinson was an English cartoonist and illustrator, best-known for the complicated and outlandish inventions he portrayed.
So, as I suspected, it seems that "Heath Robinson" is the British equivalent of "Rube Goldberg." As for its not being used any more -- tell that to Sir David Attenborough!
I'm so glad I waited for the DVDs rather than watching the American broadcast of these programs, in which the voice of David Attenborough was replaced by that of Sigourney Weaver!)

Poor David Attenborough Emotion: big smile......I hope she hadn't been yelling in that TV like: "We have to take our pulls rifles and take out this Xenomorf animals!!"..Like she did it in the Alien movies 1-4....Emotion: smile

I'm just joking, of course...Emotion: wink
Students: We have free audio pronunciation exercises.
 Feebs11's reply was promoted to an answer.
 BarbaraPA's reply was promoted to an answer.