The Turboencabulator--A Classic Engineering Joke

(Video Link)

For a number of years now, work has been proceeding in order to bring perfection to the crudely conceived idea of a transmission that would not only supply inverse reactive current for use in unilateral phase detractors, but would also be capable of automatically synchronizing cardinal grammeters. Such an instrument is the turbo-encabulator.

Do you understand? If not, just nod you head and pretend that you do because it's vital that no one else grasps how little you understand about the world. That is the premise of the turboencabulator (or turbo-encabulator or turbo encabulator), a classic joke in the engineering world. Rebecca Linke of Computerworld offers a history of this gag that has been running since at least 1944. It's a long string of total gibberish that sounds right to the uninformed. In short, it's technobabble so good that even Geordi La Forge would approve.

John Hellins Quick, a graduate student, published about the turboencabulator in a 1944 issue of the British Institution of Electrical Engineers Student’s Quarterly Journal. It was republished in the US in a 1946 issue of Time magazine. In 1962, the Instrument Department of General Electric published a professional-looking datasheet on the turboencabulator, complete with a list of accessories, specifications, and ratings. Several companies produced training videos, including the hilarious one embedded above.

-via American Digest and Ka-ching!

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