GOOD

This Record-Setting Machine Runs For 4 Mesmerizing Minutes To Light A Christmas Tree In An Amazing Way

Watching the events unfold is far more dramatic than it should be.

Even if you don’t recognize the name, if you’ve exposed yourself to pop culture, you’re probably familiar with a Rube Goldberg machine. The board game Mouse Trap was based entirely around one, and they’ve shown up in The Goonies and an OK Go video as well. They keep popping up because, well, they’re a lot of fun.

Whereas most inventions strive to create the most efficient process possible, Rube Goldberg enthusiasts shoot for the exact opposite. In this video, they take a task that’s very ordinary – turning on the lights of a Christmas tree – and turn it into Byzantine mess of switches, slides and other complications for no other reason than the fun of it. This particular one in Riga, Latvia takes a staggering four minutes to run its traps and lead to its inevitable (but still thrilling!) conclusion.


Before we suck the fun out more, let’s just enjoy the marvel of it:

Of course, in this day and age, the intent can’t solely be fun and whimsy, which is why this particular machine was put together by a Scandinavian e-commerce firm called Scandiweb. To the company’s credit, they really committed to the design and execution of this contraption which requires 412 individuals steps in the chain reaction to get the tree lit. That’s good enough to take home the world record for the “biggest” one to date. At first blush, the involvement of a media-hungry sponsor may cast a pall on the project, but it’s far better than if a city had paid for this exercise in decadence.

There are many, many simpler ways to light a Christmas tree, but this crafty device has the lofty distinction of being the most needlessly complex, which is pretty fun, too.

If you find that piece awakens a hunger you never knew existed for even more Rube Goldberg machines, then this video should give you a quick fix:

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