Rube Goldberg and the art of detection

Dennis Drabelle’s Dec. 29 Book World review of “The Art of Rube Goldberg” faulted the master’s “Our Never-Failing Liquor Tester” for advising against drinking any product whose ingestion impaired a cat’s vision: “[W]ouldn’t the cat’s impaired vision be a good thing, a sign that the bootleg booze hadn’t been watered down?”

In 1925, wary imbibers knew that Goldberg’s test was to detect hooch spiked not with grain but with wood alcohol, which was cheaper but conducive to blindness and other unpleasant effects. 

Elijah White, Leesburg

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