I think it was a Bugs Bunny cartoon where Bugs was in a oven for someone reason and some one (probably Elmer) had a match ready to light the oven and every time he struck the match bugs would pop out and blow it out. Elmer'd light a match, and Bugs would blow it out. This went on and on at crazy cartoon speed until the guy gave up in frustration.
Well that seems to be the inspiration for his "useless machine" because of its share determination to turn off those annoying switches. hit a switch and almost immediately, the machine shuts it off.
And if you want, well you can actually make one. Nice way to spend an afternoon?