You can walk into any toy store and buy a robot these days. No big deal. Back in 1939, a robot was an incredible oddity. That's why crowds flocked to see Elektro, a robot built by Westinghouse Electric for the New York World's Fair.
The talking Elektro described himself as a "smart fellow" with a "fine brain" consisting of 48 electrical relays that worked like a telephone switchboard.
Elektro was a bit of a smarty-pants, making lame jokes, smoking cigarettes, and blowing up balloons. Elektro could walk (slowly), move his mouth, and turn his head. This was pretty advanced stuff for the day. The 7-foot-tall creation took voice commands via a telephone handset.
Elektro lies low Elektro disappeared into obscurity after touring the country and then passing time as a minor attraction at a California amusement park. Elektro's story could have ended there, but the big metal guy is now in line for a revival. Elektro's head turned up in a basement and his body in a barn. … Read more