Authors & Illustrators Born in May W. Heath Robinson • May 31st

Illustration by W.Heath Robinson from 'The Little Mermaid'

Illustration by W.Heath Robinson from 'The Little Mermaid'

W. Heath Robinson (1872-1944) was born in Finsbury Park, North London. His father Thomas, an illustrator and engraver, had to illustrate the main news story each week for the Penny Illustrated Paper. It must have been from his father that Heath Robinson learned the disciplines of a commercial artist.

Painting by W. Heath Robinson

Painting by W. Heath Robinson

William Heath was the youngest of three brothers who were all superb illustrators. Thomas Heath (born in 1769) and Charles (born in 1870) and William were given the task by their father of writing illustrated letters to him, which undoubtedly honed their artistic skills from a young age.

Illustration from 'Uncle Lubin' by W. Heath Robinson

Illustration from 'Uncle Lubin' by W. Heath Robinson

W. Heath was a skilled painter and illustrator in color, but he is primarily known for the entertaining drawings he made of British life and the trials of people during the Second World War. He specialized in ridiculous and complicated mechanical solutions to ordinary problems, much like his American successor, Rube Goldberg.

One of the automatic analysis machines built for Bletchley Park during the Second World War to assist in the decryption of German message traffic was named "Heath Robinson" in his honor. It was a direct predecessor to the Colossus, the world's first programmable digital electronic computer.

Cartoon of WWI by W. Heath Robinson

Cartoon of WWI by W. Heath Robinson

Poster by W. Heath Robinson

Poster by W. Heath Robinson

Illustration from "How to Live in a Flat' by W. Heath Robinson

Illustration from "How to Live in a Flat' by W. Heath Robinson

From "How to Live in a Flat' by W. Heath Robinson

From "How to Live in a Flat' by W. Heath Robinson

From "How to Live in a Flat' by W. Heath Robinson

From "How to Live in a Flat' by W. Heath Robinson