since 1998

personal website: joe crawford. code. occasional comics. toy robots. bodysurfing. san diego. california. say hi.

New Bot Day! Elektro is my first bot from the 1930s. “Elektro the Moto-Man” was 7 feet tall and could walk and talk, differentiate colors, and “smoke” cigarettes. He appeared at the 1939 World’s Fair in New York. This is a giveaway pin from the fair, to my knowledge no actual toys were made of this bot. Westinghouse Electric & Manufacturing Company was by then a 50 year old industrial concern. They were there showing off several technologies, among them the new tech of television. Surprisingly, Elektro was not their first promotional robot: that was 1928’s “Herbert Televox.” “Robot as sales and public relations tool” is yet another use of the idea of “robot.” It seems to me we put a face and body on technologies to make them more palatable, more understandable, less threatening.

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